Why does the hard drive start with C: and not with A or B in Windows?


You may have seen that the hard drive is called “C:” when you try to log into the hard drive to perform an action with your computer’s operating system or local files.
So why is the hard drive called “C:” if the first two letters of the alphabet start with A and B, or when there are many other letters in the alphabet other than C? Moreover, this name is practically standardized for all computers using the Windows operating system or running MS-DOS.

Let’s get to know the hard drive a little bit together, and then go on a journey through how it is designated by the letter “C:“.

Let’s first figure out what the “C:” drive basically does.

Disk C: is the disk on which the computer starts and contains the Windows operating system, that is, the main disk of the computer that performs the role of the brain. When people talk about the computer’s hard drive and the purpose of the local drive, they actually mean the C: drive. This so-called “C:” disk has existed since the early days of computers with Windows operating systems.

So why is the hard drive called C: when there are a lot of letters?

The drive letter schemes date back to the early days of MS-DOS. The letters A and B are reserved for floppy disk drives that were actively used at that time, and the letter C is reserved for the main partition of the hard disk where the operating system and its associated files are located. Early versions of MS-DOS assigned each drive a fixed letter, excluding hard drives. If the computer had more than two floppy disk drives, the hard disk was called “D:” or “E:”.

In DOS 5.0, the letter “C:” was defined for a physical hard disk. Starting with DOS 5.0, no matter how large the number of floppy disks in the computer, the hard disk will no longer be designated by any letter other than “C:”. With this letter, the “C:” drive, which took on the task of opening the operating system, also received boot priority on the computer.

Other letters were also assigned to other disks.

Floppy disks used in the past are now rarely used. Although the letters “A:” and “B:” are reserved for floppy disks, we can say that “A:” and “B:” remain empty until floppy disks are inserted. Other letters, such as “D:”, “E:” and “F:”, are waiting to be assigned to disks, such as other hard drives, flash drives, CDs and DVDs. In short, the letter designation was based on the identification of memory drives, and over time it began to be used to refer to physical storage devices.


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