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Automatic Partition Operations

Hard disk partitions are not only assigned letters, but are also numbered. That means some operating system partitions are assigned letters and numbers, in others, only numbers.

Create-, delete- and move-partition operations, as well as hiding/unhiding a partition and direct letter change may result in problems running applications, opening files (as some shortcuts become unusable) or booting an operating system.

Therefore, when performing partition operations, you must be careful and remember that each operating system works differently with partition letters. Each OS has its own partition letter assignment rules.

Windows 98/Me

Windows 98/Me assign partition letters automatically in fixed order, according to these rules:

  • Partition letters start from C: and continue until Z:. The C: partition is considered system, i.e. used for OS startup. Note that these OS cannot recognize all partitions, but only 1 (FAT12), 4 and 6 (FAT16), 11 (FAT32), 12 (FAT32 LBA) and 13 (FAT16 LBA) types. File system type is determined not by partition type, but by its contents. Partitions of other types are passed (no letters are assigned to them).

  • The first primary active partition found on the first hard disk is assigned C:. If there’s no such partition, C: is assigned to the first suitable primary partition

  • Similarly and consecutively, one of the primary partitions from other hard disks is considered. They are assigned D:, E:, etc. (If there is no suitable partition found on the first disk, then C:, D:, etc. are assigned.)

  • Next, all suitable logical partitions are considered in the sequence order on the first, second, third, etc. hard disks. They are assigned E:, F:, G:, for example

  • Finally, in order, letters are assigned to all remaining suitable primary partitions of the first, second, third, etc. disks.

Partition operations in the mentioned operating systems may result in problems running applications, opening files and other problems if letter assignments change.

Windows NT/2000/XP

Windows NT/2000/XP operating systems' initial letter assignment is done automatically: similar to Windows 98. Windows NT 4.0 does not support FAT32, but assigns letters to such partitions.

Please note that letter order in these operating systems can differ depending on the number of hard disks and other disk drives recognized by the BIOS.

All these operating systems enable you to change initially assigned letters. Partition create, delete and move operations do not affect letters assigned to other partitions.


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