[SOLVED] Dual boot drive letter question

Discussion in 'Installation & Compatibility' started by kbfan, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. kbfan

    kbfan

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    I'd like to install Vista and XP dual boot on a new system. I need to install Vista first, because it's the OEM version. I'll leave room on the disk for a partition for XP when I install Vista, so I won't have to shrink the Vista partition. Otherwise, I'll follow one of the many guides out there for installing XP second (recovering the Vista boot sector and all that.), like the APC guide linked in the sticky at the top of the forum.



    I have a question about drive letters. When I install Vista, it will be on the C: drive, and the partition that will eventually hold XP will become D:. When I install XP, and when I'm running XP, I would like XP to map the second physical partition that I reserved for it as C:, and the Vista partition as D:. I don't want XP to think it's on D: when it boots, just to avoid the hassle of things like driver installation programs that shouldn't be, but are sensitive to stuff like that. (Plus you just get used to having Windows on the C: drive). In other words, when I boot Vista, I'd like it to map partition 1, its boot partition, as C: and partition 2 as D:. However, when I boot XP, I'd like XP to map partition 2, its boot partition, as C: and partition 1 as D:.



    If I follow the usual procedures to install XP dual boot, will this happen automatically, or is there some magic I can do (Disk Management in control panel or whatever) that will achieve this effect?
     
    kbfan, Apr 17, 2008
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  2. kbfan

    WAW8

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    NO - don't install Vista first. When you install XP, it will overwrite the Vista boot info, and you will only then see XP. You will have to modify boot and loader settings to then see Vista.



    You can't have two "drives" with the same letter. When you boot into either OS, it will assign itself as "C" automatically, and will see the other OS most probably as "D".
     
    WAW8, Apr 17, 2008
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  3. kbfan

    kbfan

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    Thanks, I'll install Vista second. (Your answer to my other post clarified my question about using the oem Vista disc to install Vista second, thanks again.)



    But I may not have expressed my question about drive letters clearly. To be concrete, if I have a 500gb unformatted disk and install XP first in a 200gb partition #1, then when I boot XP, partition 1 will be "C:" and that will be the only drive visible.



    Now I install Vista, and tell it to use the remaining 300gb for partition 2, and format and install Vista on it. Will Vista call partition 2 "C:" when it boots, and call partition 1 "D:"? (This is what I want). Or will it want to call partition 2 "D:" because it is the second partition on the disk?
     
    kbfan, Apr 17, 2008
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  4. kbfan

    WAW8

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    Simple solution -- don't call the partitions "C" or "D"; instead" call them "XP" and "Vista". As I said, when the OS boots, it automatically assigns itself the "C" volume label, and assigns the remaining visible partions letters in order ascending alphabetically, unless you have pre-assigned letters.



    So ... presuming that XP and Vista are both visible in both OSs ...



    When you boot XP, it will be "C", Vista will be "D".



    When you boot Vista, it will be "C", XP will be "D".



    I know this because I have a multi-boot system and this is always how it works.
     
    WAW8, Apr 17, 2008
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  5. kbfan

    kbfan

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    Excellent! That's just what I wanted. I just figured Vista would assign drive letters in the physical order of the partitions, even if it booted from the second partition. But from your experience, it calls C: the partition from which it booted (which will be the second partition if I install XP first). That's exactly what I wanted.
     
    kbfan, Apr 18, 2008
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