Drive letter that is assigned to the primary hard disk partition is not correct when you perform a CD-ROM-based clean installation of Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP

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Article ID: 896536 - View products that this article applies to.
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SYMPTOMS

Consider the following scenario:
  • You create a primary partition on a hard disk. You do this to perform a CD-ROM-based clean installation of Microsoft Windows XP or Microsoft Windows Server 2003 on a computer.
  • You have a removable device such as a Magneto-Optical (MO) disk or a USB Card Reader connected to the computer.
When you create a primary partition on the hard disk to install Windows, Windows Setup assigns the drive letter E or a drive letter that follows E to the hard disk partition instead of the drive letter C. The exact driver letter depends on how many removable devices you have. Sometimes, the driver letter that is assigned to one of the removable devices is G or H.

CAUSE

This issue occurs because Windows Setup assigns the drive letter C to the removable device. When you create a hard disk partition in the text-mode portion of Microsoft Windows 2000 Setup, text-mode Setup uses the drive letter C to create a symbolic link. Later, Windows 2000 uses the Setupdd.sys file to remove this symbolic link. However, the symbolic link is not removed in Windows XP or in Windows Server 2003 because the drive letter C is already assigned to the removable device. Therefore, Windows Setup cannot create a symbolic link when you create a hard disk partition. Windows Setup searches for a drive letter that is available after the drive letter that is assigned to the CD-ROM and then assigns it to the hard disk partition.

WORKAROUND

To work around this issue, follow these steps during the partition selection part of text-mode Setup:
  1. Select the unpartitioned space, and then press C to create a hard disk partition.
  2. Follow the instructions on the screen to create a partition.

    Note You may notice that the drive letter assigned to the primary hard disk partition is E or a letter that follows E.
  3. Select the newly created partition, and then press D to delete the partition.
  4. Follow the instructions on the screen to delete the partition.
  5. Select the unpartitioned space again, and then press C to create a primary hard disk partition.
  6. Follow the instructions on the screen to create a partition.

    Note You may notice that the drive letter that is assigned to the primary hard disk partition is C. If the primary hard disk partition is not C, the drive letter should be displayed correctly on the next system restart.

Properties

Article ID: 896536 - Last Review: February 24, 2009 - Revision: 2.0
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
Keywords: 
kbtshoot KB896536

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