Can Windows 7 be run on other than "C" drive?

Discussion in 'Windows 7' started by jetjock, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. jetjock

    jetjock MDL Senior Member

    Mar 6, 2010
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    Rather than partitioning my "C" drive that has Win XP, I'd like to install Win 7 on another physical drive ("E"). After I get all my docs & settings transferred over to 7 I'd like to then get rid of XP assuming that 7 is still working ok.

    My question is, how will this work? After I remove XP and make my "E" drive the primary boot drive, does it stay "E" or does the BIOS rename it to "C" and screw up all the programs that are referenced to "E" in the registry? I always thought that an OS had to be on the "C" drive. Wrong?

    Sorry for all the new threads, but as I learn more from you guys (and Google), I keep coming up with new questions!
     
  2. urie

    urie Moderator
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    May 21, 2007
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    When you boot into windows it will always be classed as C: even though at the moment it is your f:Drive
     
  3. Rosco

    Rosco MDL Addicted

    Oct 29, 2007
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    #4 Rosco, Mar 14, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2010
    Yes AND No - Windows ALWAYS places the initial boot code in the MBR on the first hard drive in your system.

    Installing 7 onto your existing E: drive as it stands will result in the initila boot code being written to the MBR of your existing C: drive but when 7 boots it will name the drive with its system files C: and probably call the XP drive e: or F: - depends - this doesn't really matter until you delete the XP partition whereby you may lose the boot code and your computer not boot.

    You can fix that with the Windows DVD BUT your boot code will always be written to the first drive as your BIOS reports it.

    The best way to install if you are planning on deleting the XP partition is to swap the drives over so that the 7 disk is the first and install to it. You can then install EasyBCD to add the XP partition to Windows boot menu or you can use the boot manager function most newer mobos have to choose a boot disk during post or swap them in BIOS setup.

    But, as I said - better to have the Windows you intend to keep on the first hard drive in your system.
     
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  4. Bluescreen

    Bluescreen MDL Senior Member

    Jul 16, 2009
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    Not really,
    I have Windows 7 installed on my D: partition and Windows XP on my C: Partition and Dual boot without messing with drives letters. Of course, the C: boot drive with XP host the Windows 7 boot files.
    To do that, its easy : I already have WinXP on my C drive. To install Win 7 , I boot into XP , then insert the Win 7 DVD and launch the setup from the DVD. Asking for an advanced installation and choose to install to D partition - Already created and formated -

    Nothing more, Windows 7 install fine and boot from D drive and show boot drive as C labeled WinXP ...
    Just chose your OS at boot. ;)
    Don't boot from the DVD, You are going to mess up with drives letters.
     
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  5. jetjock

    jetjock MDL Senior Member

    Mar 6, 2010
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    Once I have 7 set up and running the way I want it to, I had planned to just reformat the physical drive that XP is on now and boot into the BIOS to change the boot order for my drives making the physical drive with 7 the first drive. Is that what you are saying?
     
  6. MrFerretKing

    MrFerretKing MDL Member

    Aug 25, 2009
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    No that wont work because the XP drive that you will be reformatting holds the MBR code that points to the Win7 drive in order to boot Win7 up.
    You have 2 physical hard drives correct? Drive 1 ( Windows XP), Drive 2 ( Future Windows 7) ? Yes?

    If you try installing Windows 7 while in this configuration it will work BUT the MBR on Drive 1 will contain the boot record to point to Drive 2 in order to boot properly.
    If then you want to kill your XP install and reformat Drive 1, you will wipe out that piointer and will not be able to boot to Windows 7. Which is easily correctable after the fact.
    At this stage just recable or reorder your drives in the BIOS so the Drive2 is now Drive 1, put your Win7 DVD in drive, boot it up, and select "Repair your Computer". It should detect that you are having a startup issue and correct the MBR.
    If not you will need to choose "System Recovery", Command Prompt, and run bootsect /nt60 C:\ ( May have to run bootsect /nt60 ALL )
     
  7. sadsac

    sadsac MDL Junior Member

    Dec 5, 2007
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    Since you say "another physical drive", you may be able to keep both installations enitrely seperate and independently removable.

    If you have each physical drive on a seperate hard drive controller channel (that each may be independtly disabled in the bios), you can disable the hard drive that contains XP during the windows 7 installation, and re-enable it after installation.

    In order to use this method, your bios also should support quick boot drive selection during the bios boot up screen.
     
  8. WinFLP

    WinFLP MDL Senior Member

    Nov 18, 2009
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    If you start installation from within WindowsXP, and tell it to install on your second partition (or drive), the "D:" drive, after installation windows will refer to the system drive as the D: drive.

    What I did when setting up dual boot machines was create the new partition, mark it active, boot from the DVD, which will call that new active partition "C:" and install as such. Then I deal with dualboot issues later (using Grub4dos), and each OS refers to itself as having been installed on the "C:" drive, even if one is the first partition, and the other is on the second partition.

    I believe Windows7 has issues if the boot hard drive is a different physical disk than the destination drive.

    If you want to install on a different physical disk then XP, disconnect the XP drive, set the Seven drive as primary, install, and sort out dual boot issues.
     
  9. Rosco

    Rosco MDL Addicted

    Oct 29, 2007
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    #10 Rosco, Mar 14, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2010
    If you want to keep XP then all the answers here are right.

    If you simply want to keep XP until you transfer data then swap your Hard drives over physically (swapping the boot order in the BIOS then installing 7 may also work - really depends on your motherboard).

    As I said - if you want to keep 7 and eventually delete XP it is better to have the first disk as seen by windows at install as the disk you want to install to as it is this MBR which will contain the boot code.

    Installing to the second drive will work BUT if you nuke the first disk as seen by windows at install you nuke your boot code.

    If you fix this with the DVD and at a later time you forget and again nuke the first disk as seen by windows at install you nuke your boot code.

    See - it will work in all different scenarios but you can make life a lot easier by simply ensuring Windows always install to the first disk in your system.

    Windows 7 always allocates drive letters so that the drive containing its system files is C:\.
     
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  10. jetjock

    jetjock MDL Senior Member

    Mar 6, 2010
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    Many thanks to all of you that have helped me here. Unfortunately, I got impatient this afternoon and went ahead and installed 7 on my second physical drive. Everything is working just great so far, but it sounds like I'm going to be needing more help in a week or two when (& if) I finally get rid of XP. I'll be back!
     
  11. jetjock

    jetjock MDL Senior Member

    Mar 6, 2010
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    Now that I've managed to mess this up,(see my last post yesterday) even after all your help, what would be the best way to fix things? Is there a way to fix things without starting over, or should I just disconnect my XP drive and re-install 7 on it's drive? I am not that far into 7 yet, so I won't loose much. If I do that and then plug my XP drive back in, will I still get the dual boot option upon restart? What's the best way to go?
     
  12. jetjock

    jetjock MDL Senior Member

    Mar 6, 2010
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