I’ve been having problems with my Gateway desktop recently. I decided to do a system restore (in safe-mode), and the next thing I knew, the drive letter had been changed from C: to D:.

I can’t do another system restore because the Repair PC menu only shows two options: Startup Repair and Factory Settings. I also can’t log into any accounts because they’re not listed, even in safe-mode (probably because they’re on a different drive letter). It’s now asking for a username and password that has never been created.

Is there a way to change the drive letter back without having to log in to an account?

  • When you say you did a system-restore in safe-mode, do you mean you actually booted Windows into Safe Mode or into System Recovery Options? – Synetech Nov 29 '13 at 2:17
  • I booted it into safe mode before having this problem (Drive swap) – Brice Nov 29 '13 at 2:30
  • That’s pretty odd because for Recovery Options, you actually boot into a separate, stripped-down “PE” version of Windows and the drive letters are indeed reassigned (C: is the virtual drive for the PE OS and your regular drive is X: by default). But in safe-mode, it should not be changing drive letters at all; the system drive should appear as C: as normal. You said you had some problems before using system restore; perhaps something you used to try to fix it changed the drive letter but didn’t change it back. Had you done anything else that before the system restore? – Synetech Nov 29 '13 at 2:50
  • I uninstalled a couple programs. It could have been PowerISO, cause that was one of the few i uninstalled. After i uninstalled it (in safe mode) i restarted my PC (again in safe mode). It loaded fine that time so i decided to do a system restore. After it finished, i started having this problem. – Brice Nov 29 '13 at 2:59

Boot to a recovery console and use diskpart.

Just run the command diskpart

lis vol
sel vol # (select the volume number of the current C: partition [the old D:])
sel vol # (select the current D: [old C:])

Hopefully that will allow it to boot to the proper volume. There might be a problem with the volume D: [old C:] and may need to run a chkdsk -f on it.

  • I'm not able to boot to the recovery console. I only get two options in repair PC. – Brice Nov 29 '13 at 21:07
  • Do you have an OS recovery CD/DVD ? You can download an iso for Windows 7 here: msft.digitalrivercontent.net/win/X17-24209.iso – jredd Dec 4 '13 at 16:21
  • Don't do this if it is your boot partition appearing as c: as then you won't get your machine to do anything! – Will May 30 '18 at 7:53

just wanted to add a solution to this problem, since this question is one of the top google search results. Hope others find it useful!

I had to change the drive letter back to C after reinstalling windows and finding that some essential drivers assume the drive letter is C and therefore can never be installed. There is a super easy solution, and you can effectively change the drive letter back to C after reinstalling windows or whatever. Just create a symbolic link.

Right click My Computer, go to Computer Management, shrink a drive down 8MB, and create a new drive C:/.

Then just open the command prompt as administrator (type cmd into start menu, right click run as administrator), and and type commands like this, as necessary.

mklink /J "C:\Program Files" "D:\Program Files" 
mklink /J "C:\Program Files (x86)" "D:\Program Files (x86)" 
mklink /J "C:\Users" "D:\Users" 
mklink /J "C:\Windows" "D:\Windows"

Sadly, it appears that it is not possible to go directly from D to C, but this will fix any program installation issues and works for all practical purposes. But at least this works immediately with no loss of time or risk of headache.


DISKPART or any other utility might not help. Then use Regedit:



Or go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices

Remove \DosDevices\C


Then remove OS wrong disk letter in diskpart in recovery mode

list vol
select volume 0
assign remove=e
assign letter=c

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