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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-08-2003, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Drive letter management in Windows

This topic is pursuant to my last one...I have a new hard drive that is larger than my system BIOS can recognize, so I bought a PCI EIDE controller card and the drive is up. I am ready to install Windows XP on it but have hit a snag...my computer hangs after detecting IDE devices if I don't have a hard drive on my primary controller (onboard)! Doesn't matter which one. Not sure why, but it hangs every time. Therefore I am HAVING to put one of my old drives on that controller in order to even boot the computer. Since my new drive is on an external controller, the result is that the old HD is C and my new HD is E for some reason (I started XP setup and that's what shows there).

My questions are: Can I somehow force this drive to be C during the installation process? If not, and I install XP onto the E drive, can I change the drive letter later? I don't think I can do that with Windows tools, but maybe Partition Magic or something can do it? If I do that, will I be in trouble because my XP installation was to the E drive?

My other throught is that once I have created the partition and formatted the new drive, I think I could move it onto the onboard Primary controller and it will work; it's just that it will only see 137 GB. I could install Windows with it there so that it would be the C drive. I'd have to move it to the external controller card though to get the rest of the available space. If I do this, will Windows want to change the drive letter to something else at that stage? If so, that goes back to the above question, can I force it back to C somehow in Windows?

Any input is appreciated.

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Last edited by O2BQIK; 10-08-2003 at 05:58 PM.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-08-2003, 06:42 PM
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-08-2003, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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Yes...but only from the four IDE slots onboard. The MB's BIOS does not recognize the expansion card as more IDE slots. The card actually has its own BIOS. Otherwise that would solve the problem
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-08-2003, 06:53 PM
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Upgrade the MoBo.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-08-2003, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by Poisond281
Upgrade the MoBo.
Easier said than done...it's a Dell computer.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-08-2003, 08:33 PM
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You might try disabling all the ide devices in setup. You said the card has its own BIOS. Does it have its own BIOS setup? Is it XP compatible? If you had to you could leave the C drive in there and install XP on E: and it will run fine. YOu can then try to remove the C: drive and see if XP continues to run.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-08-2003, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by VetEtr
You might try disabling all the ide devices in setup. You said the card has its own BIOS. Does it have its own BIOS setup? Is it XP compatible? If you had to you could leave the C drive in there and install XP on E: and it will run fine. YOu can then try to remove the C: drive and see if XP continues to run.
Yeah it has its own BIOS setup, but for some reason when I press F3 to enter setup, it just ignores me. Not sure what to do about that. Maybe the answer I'm looking for is in there.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-08-2003, 08:54 PM
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What's the make and model of the card?
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-08-2003, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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The make is SIIG and it's the UltraATA 133 PCI version 2 card. There's about zero troubleshooting info on the manufacturer site.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-08-2003, 09:56 PM
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Does the card bios show up during POST? It's supposed to show the card bios info and any devices attached.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-08-2003, 10:00 PM
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And here's a really stupid question: Are the jumpers set right on the hard drive? Are you using the right cable? Is there power?

Okay, three really stupid questions. I have made all three of those mistakes before, so it doesn't hurt to ask.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-10-2003, 10:13 AM
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Changing drive letters can be a bitch, especially when trying to do it on the C: drive. Can have some very bad results. This is a clean install so that helps. The easiest way to do this would be to boot up on the old hard drive you have, install the raid card and partition the new large drive you have into two( or more ) smaller partitions. Then proceed with the install as planned with only the large drive installed. You will longer need the raid card to see the new large drive. Your problem is that you have to install the driver for the raid card before it can be detected by the bios and O/S. Although a good portion of the motherboards out there will see it ( as a SCSI device), allowing you to set it up as a boot device. Check your BIOS but your system being a dell makes this possibility slim. Hope some of this helps. I wold also reccommned against changing drive letters on the c: partition. Let me know if I can help anymore.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-10-2003, 09:06 PM
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How do you change the drive letter of C:?
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-11-2003, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. I know it would have been easier to run 2 partitions, but I really didn't want to because every time I've done that in the past I've regretted it later when the drive started filling up.

Anyway it's working now. I installed SP1 on my current install of Windows (on my old drive) and the new drive is running on the PCI card with no problems. I haven't been able to make it bootable although there are a couple more options in my system BIOS I will try before giving up. Thanks for all the input.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-18-2003, 04:13 PM
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The controller cards have their own bios on them. So there's no way you'll be able to get your mobo bios to see the drives on it. And no, you can't change your system drive's letter. Being a Dell shouldn't matter, the cases are standard ATX style, so any ATX motherboard should work in it. It's a matter of if the power supply will work, or if you'll have to get a new one, and if the processor will work (ie: may be too old for mobo's on the market now), and may need to be upgraded with the mobo.

Now, that said... you want to hear something REALLY retarded? I was reinstalling my system a few months ago, and had all my stuff connected to it. Even my old Jazz 2GB drive with it's SCSI to USB converter. Windows wanted to make that drive C, and my hard drive, drive D. That's retarded.

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