I'm currently deploying Windows XP (don't ask why) across a corporate environment and have a requirement to partition the disk during the unattended build. the disk must contain two partitions:

  • C: will store the OS and should fill the remainder of the disk
  • D: will be a partition for user data and should be 20GB

Diskpart is being used to prepare the disk for OS installation. WinPE appears to be assigning the DVD-ROM drive the letter D.

Firstly, I'm executing diskpart with the following command to re-assign the letter given to the DVD-ROM drive:

Select volume 0
assign letter=e

This appears to work as intended. Viewing the various volumes using Diskpart shows the DVD-ROM drive to be E:

The next diskpart script aims to create the two partitions mentioned above. Below are the commands I'm currently using:

select disk 0
create partition primary size=20480
select partition 1
assign letter="D"

create partition primary
select partition 2
assign letter="C"

The above command executes correctly but Windows XP fails to load. However when telling diskpart to create a single C: partition the OS loads fine. The image was captured using ImageX and was configured to only capture the contents of C. Because of this I do not believe the issue is in anyway related to how the image was captured.

Thanks in advance for any guidance offered.

  • "However when telling diskpart to create a single C: partition the OS loads fine." Then do that, and partition the disk once you've booted back into Windows... – Breakthrough Mar 21 '13 at 19:19
  • Any reason why D is partition 1 and C is 2? Also, how about creating C and E (without reassigning the DVD drive) and if required swap the D and E drive letters later? – Karan Mar 21 '13 at 19:21
  • @Breakthrough Good idea. I'll actually give that a go now. – JHamill Mar 21 '13 at 19:25
  • @Karan no reason in particular. I'll tidy that up and give that a go also. – JHamill Mar 21 '13 at 19:26

In addition to the suggestions by Breakthrough and Karan, you could use the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) for your imaging and deployment needs. In the task sequence you create to deploy your OS, you can have MDT partition and format the hard drive, and set it to a percentage of the drive. For example, you can set Drive C to 80% of the available drive space and set drive D to the remaining 20% (100% of the remaining space after the first partition is created).

There are other benefits to using MDT for your deployments, such as installing software after the OS is deployed, managing device drivers and can be used for deploying Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003 R2, Server 2008 SP2, 2008 R2, and 2012.

Here is a great video that shows how MDT can benefit you and your organization with imaging and deployments: Deployment Day Session 1: Introduction to MDT 2012

One final note, Windows XP End of Support is coming April 8, 2014. There will be no new hotfixes or patches developed for Windows XP after this date, which will leave your systems vulnerable to security risks. Read more about Windows XP EOS here.

Hope this helps

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