Something we frequently do at work is a full backup and reinstall: image the boot drive to one of our backup drives in rotation, wipe their drive and reinstall Windows, find drivers and programs, then plug the backup drive in and copy their stuff back.
Long story short, Windows made the backup drive C:, called its actual boot drive F:, and once our drive was removed, it hung at the “Welcome” screen. It’s like someone never wearing shoes again because they broke a shoelace once. Or something. It’s just so staggeringly dumb I can’t think of a decent analogy.
Fortunately, this is the 2nd google result for “changed drive letters”. Reproduced here mainly for my own reference, and so you can remember reading about a fix if you ever come across it:
- Run regedit (Windows key + R, “regedit”, enter)
- Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices
- Rename (not modify the value of) \DosDevices\C: to Z: or something
- Rename the actual boot drive (say F:) to C:
- Rename the other drive back to F: or whatever
- Pray, reboot, and pray some more
It worked for me, and that computer’s back on someone’s desk being productive.
Update 4/2/2010: I’ve come up with a new solution to this problem that seems to work consistently. Click here to go to the new blog entry I wrote to announce and explain it.