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I fixed a friends computer yesterday. It was BSODing on startup every boot. It turned out something was up with his Windows partition, the Windows install/rescue CD could not read it, and neither could the installed OS. So I booted a Linux LiveCD, backed up all the data, deleted the partition, and recreated it with the Windows install CD during installation.

I boot it up, and there is no C: drive. The drive that was formerly C: is now E:. If I plug in a flash drive, that becomes the C: drive (the CD drive is still the D: drive).

Is there any problems that will be caused by not having a drive under C:? i.e. Any programs hardcoding it into their filepaths, or similar problems?

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I've successfully installed with the system partition as a different drive letter than C: a couple times. Even if it had trouble finding a file, I doubt that would cause a BSOD. – hyperslug Sep 27 '09 at 16:13
No. It was bluescreening for a different error. Then after reinstalling, because of how I fixed the other error, there was no C: drive. – Macha Sep 27 '09 at 17:26
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Windows itself and other Microsoft software will be fine.

Well written software that doesn't make unsafe assumptions about that C: does and does not represent, will be fine too.

Unfortunately while most software does this the right way (using the relevant environment variables or registry lookups to find the right location for the user's profile or "program files") there is still some software out there that doesn't decide where to store/access things the right way and instead uses hard coded paths. Such software will fail to work correctly if Windows is not installed with the default system drive mapping. Having said that - if a peice of software gets this simple thing wrong you are probably better off not running it at all because <insert deity here> only knows what else its creator is getting wrong...

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This was precisely my experience on a Windows 98 machine many years ago, where the OS was running from the D: drive. Lots of programs were just fine and conferred with the registry for proper paths, but others got testy. It was both sad and amusing to see files turn up in an otherwise empty "Windows" folder on the C drive as programs attempted to dump their crap in the Windows directory. – UtopiaLtd Jul 5 '11 at 7:40

I've been running XP off my I: drive for a few years now with no noticeable problems.

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