Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

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

Can't find the answer anywhere.

I just want to reinstall Windows on a new HDD. However the computers CD/DVD drive is broken and I don't have access to an external CD reader. So I cloned the install CD to a bootable USB stick. That works fine but I can't get the drive letters right. When I boot from USB the drive letter is assigned to C: which mean Windows will be installed to D: ... I don't want that, I want Windows to reside on C.

I read somewhere you can install another bootloader, I tried with OSL2000 but can't seem to choose different drive letters there either. Please help!


Found this change drive letter from D: to C: for Windows drive! , it is helpful but I still havent found a resolution.

share|improve this question
Which Windows version, and how exactly did you transfer the installer to USB? There are lots of tools that will allow the USB to function just like the CD, and the latter obviously doesn't use up the C drive letter. – Karan Apr 30 '13 at 15:52
@Karan Thanks for replying. I used a tool named Rufus to format the USB stick and applying the install image file (converted to ISO before). I'm currently installing Windows XP as the computer is not the fastest and is only needed to work for a specific task. Now I borrowed an external USB CD reader but the computer won't let me boot from that either. – jtheman May 2 '13 at 8:35
@Karan I would greatly appreciate info about such a tool that would work to install XP. Can't seem to find any. – jtheman May 2 '13 at 13:39
I've used Rufus before, and I'm still confused how it would use up C: Try WinToFlash instead. If with this as well you feel XP will be installed to D:, let us know how you're determining this and provide some camera snaps if possible. – Karan May 2 '13 at 14:44
@Karan I wonder if it's something to do with the fact that Rufus only wants to format the drive to NTFS while mounting the installer image. Maybe a FAT USB won't mount as C ? – jtheman May 2 '13 at 16:38

If you have brain-dead software that insists on only running properly from C:\Program Files, yoi can always set up a fake C: drive using the subst command.

share|improve this answer
So your suggestion is to install Windows on D and be happy? – jtheman Apr 30 '13 at 13:25
Yes. Fighting Windows' choice of system drive is usually not worth it IMHO. Are you using XP? I've noticed Vista and up always set the system drive to C:, at least every time I've installed them from removeable media. – LawrenceC Apr 30 '13 at 13:35
Thanks. +1 for your answer. However this doesn't answer my question so I can't mark it as an answer. I'd still like it to be solved. – jtheman May 4 '13 at 20:41

From the FAQ for Rufus:

If you try to install XP on a blank or unpartitioned drive, you may find that the USB drive you booted from is listed as C: and therefore prevents you from using C: for the partition you want Windows to be installed on:


To work around this:

1.Select Create Partition by typing C and then press the Enter key to create a new partition. You should end up with something similar to the following, where C: is still assigned to the USB drive:


2.Type D then L to delete the partition you just created. You will now end up with the following:


(neither partition has drive letter assigned).

3.Proceed with the standard XP installation. The installer will now be able to use C: as the target drive.

share|improve this answer
Since it's over two years I had this problem and solved it in another way I cannot verify that this solution works. If anyone can, from a real test with an identical issue, verify that the answered suggestion would work, I can mark this answer as the correct. – jtheman Nov 3 '15 at 11:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .