Why letter "C" is assigned to your hard drive?


Ever thought why is it "C" and not "A"?

You're probably reminded of how windows usually live on your c drive every time you open up file explorer to search for that super important word documents placed.

But why do the most important drivers on your computer get assigned to the third letter of the alphabet?

Tech Aficionado brings an awesome post where you'll know the conspiracy behind the letter "C".

Is Microsoft tacitly admitting that windows is an average operating system?

The answer goes all the way back to the early days of personal computing when DOS was the big-time operating system of the day. Early pcs often did not come with hard drives in them those were expensive, back then so instead users would often run their operating systems and other programs directly off of floppy disks this included DOS which by default assigned the letters A and B to the floppy drives.


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Many early computers like the original IBM pc from 1981 were often configured with two floppy drives so this letter assignment scheme made sense. so once hard drives started becoming more commonplace later in the same decade operating systems started to assign the next letter that wasn't reserved for floppy drives C and while early versions of DOS actually would still assign c to a third floppy drive if the system had that many. Later versions always reserved c for an actual hard drive but because windows were originally based on DOS, windows continued the tradition of assigning the letter c to the main hard drive by the time we got windows XP in 2001 which was the first non-dos windows for home users the convention of using a for floppy drive and C for the main hard drive was firmly cemented even though pcs don't come with floppy drives anymore and it's getting harder and harder to find computer cases that even have floppy drive bays. windows have stuck with assigning c to the system drive since there hasn't been much reason to break from the convention and many third-party programs are written assuming that c is the location of the windows install making changing the paradigm even ickier. So what about the other letters after c windows assign the remaining letters in order to any other attached stored devices unless we're talking network drives in which case windows will actually start with a "Z". It's way back but let's say this doesn't sit particularly well with you and being the logical computer enthusiast you are you want to use the letter a for your main system drive. makes sense.

Fun fact: if you connect a floppy drive (even through USB) in Windows 10, it will still automatically assign that floppy drive to A and B

I won't hold that against you, there's actually nothing stopping you from doing this on your own if you open up windows disk management you can change the letter of your system drive by right-clicking on it picking the change drive letter and paths option and just selecting an available drive letter from the drop-down menu. Doing this could break programs that are already installed on your computer that are looking for c as I previously mentioned if you really don't want to use c for your system a better but still no perfect way to do this. It is to assign your desired letter to an empty partition first then install windows to that partition of course it would be nice if windows setup would just straight up ask you what letter you'd like for your drive to have when you first start using your pc but quite honestly not that many people have been clamoring for Microsoft to stop using the letter "C" so that particular windows quirk is probably here to stay but you could also just rename your second drive the "A" drive for those ultra-important "A" tier files that you want to keep in one place makes it a lot easier to find them.


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Easy up Tech - Tech Aficionado

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