Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

enter image description hereWindows Install window

I am eager to get this answer i.e. in Windows 7 when we format the computer there is a problem that when we have to select drive for formatting, it doesn't show drive letter.

*I need a solution wherein when I format I want to know its drive letter so that I may not be confused while formatting.

*See the difference between windows xp and windows 7. I want windows 7 to show drive letters like windows xp. Does any one know why windows 7 doesn't show drive letters.

share|improve this question
when we format xp it shows us drive letter such as C,D,E etc. but in win7 it doesn't show C,D,E etc. – FrozenKing Oct 8 '11 at 5:43

The assignment of letters to drives is specific to an installation of Windows. Since you're installing Windows now, the drives don't yet have letters. If the installer told you that it considered a particular drive to be C, that wouldn't help you because you might think of that drive as something else. In fact, the installer has no way to know if this drive would be considered the "first" drive once all drives are visible because not all drivers are necessarily installed yet.

To make sure this doesn't bite you, I'd suggest noting the sizes of all drives on the system and identifying them by size. If you have more than one drive or partition that's the same size, make sure they're connected to the same controller. That way, either both of them will be visible or neither of them will.

You may also wish to physically disconnect drives you don't plan to install on, just while the installation is done. If you need to boot from that drive, you'll need to do a startup repair after reconnecting that drive.

Multiple partitions on the same drive will always either all be visible or none visible. You can use the Disk Manager in a working Windows install (or fdisk or a similar tool in Linux) to see which physical partition is which, and then you will know their physical arrangement.

But the short version is this: To safely do an install to a machine with more than one disk or partitions you wish to preserve, you must first map out the physical arrangement of the drives and partitions and 100% confirm a match before formatting.

share|improve this answer
I already formatted my drive with windows 7 by knowing the size of every partition. But why in windows 7 it is not showing drive letters? – FrozenKing Oct 10 '11 at 4:40
Because drives don't have letters. When you boot Windows, Windows assigns a letter to each partition. I have a multi-boot computer, and each version of Windows uses it's partition as C: and assigns D: and E: to the other two. I essentially have three C: drives, just not at the same time. I use volume labels to tell them apart. – Hand-E-Food Oct 10 '11 at 5:08
Is their any way so windows 7 shows drive letter like windows xp? – FrozenKing Oct 12 '11 at 2:32
There's now way for Windows 7 to know which drive letters to show. That would be worse than useless because it would have the serious risk of misleading you as you make a data-destroying decision. All the sizes are different, so you can easily tell which is which. – David Schwartz Oct 12 '11 at 13:46

You have a few options here. You can boot from a liveCD (Ubuntu) and use GParted to layout your initial partition scheme. This will allow you to know exactly the sizes of the partitions when coming back into the Windows 7 installer.

Are your different partitions all on one hard drive? If not then you can unplug the physical drives (D, E, etc) and install Windows normally on your C drive.

share|improve this answer

In Windows 7, by default the drive on which the OS is loaded is marked as C:\ (Or atleast Windows 7 shows it as C:)

Remembering the size will help. Also Windows 7 warns you if you try to install the OS on a drive which may contain some data.

share|improve this answer
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Actually, the solution to this answer I got accidentally after 1yr.
I was having some problem in my PC so there was a need to format it.

Before, doing that I had previously named hard disk partitions like, the OS installed drive I named it System Drive and other drives like My drive and Software drive. This, I have done for a change without knowing this would help me in formatting my drive with WIN 7.

After naming the drive,it was very easy to find the previous installed OS partition.

And the problem was solved. :)

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.