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How to Install Windows 2000/XP/2003 to an Alternate Drive Letter

This article will outline how to install Windows 2000/XP/2003 to an alternate drive letter (i.e. a drive letter other than C:) with the exception of the files Windows uses to boot (BOOT.INI, NTDETECT.COM, and NTLDR).  If you are interested in installing Windows 2000/XP/2003 completely to an alternate hard drive, including the boot files, please refer to the article How to Completely Install Windows 2000/XP/2003 to an Alternate Hard Drive.

  1. Use BootIt BM to create a primary partition on HD0, if no suitable partitions already exist.
    • This partition can be as small as 8 MB in size, as only a few small files need to be stored on it. 
    • This partition may be FAT (i.e. FAT12/16/32) or NTFS.
    • If you already have an operating system installed on C:, you may want to enable the Multi-OS option in BootIt BM.

  2. Use BootIt BM to create the partition on which Windows will be installed, if it does not already exist.
    • This partition can be on HD0 or on an alternate hard drive.
    • This partition can be either a primary partition or a logical partition within an extended partition.
    • This partition may be FAT (i.e. FAT12/16/32) or NTFS.

  3. Use BootIt BM to create a boot menu item which boots to the partition from Step 1.
    • Ensure that the partition from Step 2 is listed in the MBR Details section, adding it to the list if necessary.

  4. Boot to the menu item you created in Step 3.  This will update the MBR and mark the boot partition as active.
    • If you created and formatted a partition, you will have the opportunity to insert your installation diskette and hit a key to boot from it.
    • If the partition is not formatted, BootIt BM will detect that the partition is not yet bootable and will give you the option to boot from a diskette.
    • Regardless of what file system you have chosen, you can press Ctrl+Alt+Delete or the Reset button to boot from the Windows installation CD-ROM.

  5. Begin Windows Setup.
    • When prompted to select the target partition for Windows installation, select the partition you created in Step 2 (or whichever preexisting partition to which you want Windows installed).
    • Windows Setup will install Windows to the partition you select and will also automatically install the boot files to the active primary partition on HD0 (the one you created in Step 1).

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