How to tell which drive is which in Windows Install?

Hey Guys,

I ran into and issue and it has been an issue for many years when installing Windows as too which drive is which drive. ie, I was reinstalling Windows 11 on my dads newer Laptop and when I cam up too the part where I select the drive theonly thing that made them look different 1 said “Drive 0” and they other said “Drive 1”.

They were both the same size drive but one was a nvme drive and they other was a HDD. Now I had no way to tell which drive was which and I was wondering besides physically removing the X drive from the system how do I tell which drive to install the OS on.

I mean I installed it and I picked the first drive Drive 0 but that turned out to be the HDD and I had to delete that install and reinstall on the 2nd drive so that is why I was wondering for future reference how if possible can I tell which drive was the correct drive to install Win11 on. and in this case it was the nvme drive…

Boot into the BIOS and see which drive is the boot drive. You can install windows on any drive but the BIOS has to know which drive is the boot drive.

In this case the NVME is the best choice but you could have easily changed the BIOS to boot to the HDD.

QUICK EDIT: The bios should also tell you the drive type and manufacturer IE: NVME Samsung etc At least my BIOS does


I always just disconnect all drives except the one I am installing to.

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This is not true anymore for modern mainboards, which have UEFI Firmware, and not a BIOS anymore.

UEFI is smarter. It will read the partitions from your hard drives, learn which Operating Systems are installed, and allow you to choose from those.

The OS needs to play its part and provide its boot files in a certain format on a certain partition. The OS can also take influence on which OS the UEFI should boot next.

Sorry, all this does not help The_Nephilim at all. But somebody on the Internet was wrong and I had to intervene immediately. :crazy_face:

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I find having drives of all different sizes and manufacturers makes it easier. 512, 1TB, 2TB WD and Samsung in my PC. Yes, I have 2 Nvme and 2 SATA SSDs. :slight_smile:

I have not taken the time to see if changing things up in the UEFI makes Windows see them in a different order. It seems like it’s more the order Windows has “seen” them in. So the 2nd drive will always be Drive 1 even if that is now the boot drive with the OS in it.

Now if you have multiple blank drives and you’re installing the OS for the first time, well…I literally haven’t done that since Win7 days I think. My home PC was installed as Win7 64-bit and then upgraded to Win10 and then 11 while my boot drive went from an HDD to a 512 SSD to a 1TB SSD and my other drives have shifted as well. At work we have PCs that all have one drive only and we just image them PXIE boot anyway. :wink: