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Installing Windows Vista/7 on a GUID Partition Table

FordGT90Concept

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#1
Background

GUID Partition Table (GPT) is a boot sector technology poised to replace the venerable Master Boot Record (MBR) principally because MBR has a maximum capacity of 2 TB for a single partition (some single disks have reached 3 TB). Installing Windows on a GPT is a bit tricky because Windows wants to default back to MBR. In order to force Windows on to a GPT, we have to pre-format the drive prior to Windows installation. You can do that during Windows setup using the console.

Requirements

  • Windows Vista or 7 (must be 64-bit no matter which OS is used)
  • A motherboard with EFI BIOS
  • A means to EFI boot the Windows setup (I had to use a USB DVD drive on MSI Z77A-G65, the internal SATA Bluray drives didn't have an EFI option)

Instructions

  1. Boot into Windows setup using EFI. On the MSI Z77A-G65, it showed up as UEFI:USB-ATAPI DVD ... This will change according to your motherboard and how you are attempting to enter setup. This step is critical. Without booting into setup via EFI, only MBR is available to the setup. There's no easy way to tell from within setup if it is running via EFI or not.
  2. Once you have booted into setup, continue through the process as you would normally until you reach the dialog which shows you the available drives. Load a driver, if necessary, then press SHIFT+F10 to open the command prompt.
  3. In the command prompt, enter the following lines, pressing enter after each one. Note that the <id> field below is the disk ID that you want to format as GPT from the "list disk" command. If there's only one drive, <id> will likely be 1. Note: All data on the drive will be lost during this process. Make sure to select the correct drive.
    1. diskpart
    2. list disk
    3. select disk <id>
    4. online disk
    5. attributes disk clear readonly
    6. clean
    7. convert gpt
    8. create partition efi size=102
    9. create partition msr size=32
    10. create partition primary
    11. format fs=ntfs label="Operating System"
    12. assign letter=C
    13. exit

    "online disk" and "attributes disk clear readonly" are likely to fail. Don't worry, they are only precautionary. Change the drive letter and label to whatever you want. Also, the above command (specifically "create partition primary") will consume all remaining space on the drive. If you want multiple partitions with fixed sizes, substitute what you want in place of "create partition primary."
  4. You may now close the command prompt and click on "Refresh" back in the dialog to choose where to install Windows. You should now see at least 2 partitions (I think Microsoft Reserved is hidden) and it will only let you install on a non EFI/MSR partition. Click on the primary partition and proceed with the installation as normal.
  5. Note that in the EFI BIOS after installing Windows via EFI, you can no longer directly boot the volume Windows is installed on. Instead, you must boot via "Windows Boot Manager" (on MSI Z77A-G65, it was "UEFI: Windows Boot Manager"). Keep that in mind if you wish to tweak the boot order.

Conclusion

That should do it. You should be in Windows with >2 TB of hard drive capacity available if you had more than 2 TB on the Windows partition. Congratulations being on the bleeding edge of technology! :rockout:
 
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#2
Background

GUID Partition Table (GPT) is a boot sector technology poised to replace the venerable Master Boot Record (MBR) principally because MBR has a maximum capacity of 2 TB for a single partition (some single disks have reached 3 TB). Installing Windows on a GPT is a bit tricky because Windows wants to default back to MBR. In order to force Windows on to a GPT, we have to pre-format the drive prior to Windows installation. You can do that during Windows setup using the console.

Requirements

  • Windows Vista or 7 (must be 64-bit no matter which OS is used)
  • A motherboard with EFI BIOS
  • A means to EFI boot the Windows setup (I had to use a USB DVD drive on MSI Z77A-G65, the internal SATA Bluray drives didn't have an EFI option)

Instructions

  1. Boot into Windows setup using EFI. On the MSI Z77A-G65, it showed up as UEFI:USB-ATAPI DVD ... This will change according to your motherboard and how you are attempting to enter setup. This step is critical. Without booting into setup via EFI, only MBR is available to the setup. There's no easy way to tell from within setup if it is running via EFI or not.
  2. Once you have booted into setup, continue through the process as you would normally until you reach the dialog which shows you the available drives. Load a driver, if necessary, then press SHIFT+F10 to open the command prompt.
  3. In the command prompt, enter the following lines, pressing enter after each one. Note that the <id> field below is the disk ID that you want to format as GPT from the "list disk" command. If there's only one drive, <id> will likely be 1. Note: All data on the drive will be lost during this process. Make sure to select the correct drive.
    1. diskpart
    2. list disk
    3. select disk <id>
    4. online disk
    5. attributes disk clear readonly
    6. clean
    7. convert gpt
    8. create partition efi size=102
    9. create partition msr size=32
    10. create partition primary
    11. format fs=ntfs label="Operating System"
    12. assign letter=C
    13. exit

    "online disk" and "attributes disk clear readonly" are likely to fail. Don't worry, they are only precautionary. Change the drive letter and label to whatever you want. Also, the above command (specifically "create partition primary") will consume all remaining space on the drive. If you want multiple partitions with fixed sizes, substitute what you want in place of "create partition primary."
  4. You may now close the command prompt and click on "Refresh" back in the dialog to choose where to install Windows. You should now see at least 2 partitions (I think Microsoft Reserved is hidden) and it will only let you install on a non EFI/MSR partition. Click on the primary partition and proceed with the installation as normal.
  5. Note that in the EFI BIOS after installing Windows via EFI, you can no longer directly boot the volume Windows is installed on. Instead, you must boot via "Windows Boot Manager" (on MSI Z77A-G65, it was "UEFI: Windows Boot Manager"). Keep that in mind if you wish to tweak the boot order.

Conclusion

That should do it. You should be in Windows with >2 TB of hard drive capacity available if you had more than 2 TB on the Windows partition. Congratulations being on the bleeding edge of technology! :rockout:

Dear FordGT,

First of all, thank you very much for your very useful (and imho, most recommended) tip on installing Windows 7 on a GPT hard disk, which has enabled me to install Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit on my brand-new Samsung Series 5 NP550P5C laptop (only a few weeks old, coming up to its one-month anniversary) which has an UEFI BIOS, after wiping its slow 1 Tb 5,400 rpm hard disk (will replace it with a SSD sometime in the future) clean of SamCrap bloatware and performing a clean Win7 install.

Now, I think I may have an interesting question for you.

I am thinking of assembling a mini-ITX pc with Intel quad-core i7-3770K and GTX660Ti 2 Gb sometime in the near future (when funds permit).

I am thinking of putting a 2 Tb 7,200 rpm hard disk and a 240 Gb SSD together, and using the SSD to cache the two 1 Tb partitions (after setting up the 102 Mb EFI system partition and the 32 Mb Microsoft Reserved partition and partitioning the remainder into two equal-size partitions of slightly under 1 Tb each) using Intel Smart Response Technology.

On the SSD, I intend to create the following partitions:- a 102 Mb partition to cache the EFI system partition, a 32 Mb partition to cache the Microsoft Reserved partition, a 64 Gb partition to cache the < 1 Tb drive C (coz Intel Smart Response Techology only allows a maximum of 64 Gb), another 64 Gb partition to cache the < 1 Tb drive D, a 16 Gb partition to copy the system RAM to SSD using Intel Rapid Start Technology when putting the computer to sleep (in S3/S4 mode) and the remaining 95/96 Gb partition (I have done the sums) as a normal hard disk for stuff that requires speedy access, for games like Sims 3 which requires a lot of disk accessing.

My question is this:-

Is what I am proposing above feasible or not ?

Would it be possible to use the partitions on the SSD and Intel Smart Response Technology to cache the EFI System partition and the Microsoft Reserved partitions ?

Would Intel Smart Response Technology be able to recognise both the EFI system partition and the Microsoft Reserved partitions, in addition to the two < 1 Tb partitions (drives C and D) ?

Thanks in advance.


TAG
 

FordGT90Concept

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#3
EFI System and Microsoft Reserved are hidden partitions on the EFI volume. The only way you could partially do that would be by using RAID0 but doing that would be silly. I would put a GPT on both drives then, from within windows, set the page file to the SSD if that's what you want to do.
 

DarK_AgE

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#4
Thanks for all the explanation. It'll be very helpfull. Just one question, though. What should I write starting from line 9 if I want to creat 3 or more partitions on the GTP hard drive containing the OS.

Thanks again!
 

FordGT90Concept

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#5
I've never tried multiple partitions so this is a shot in the dark...

At step #10, I would try setting the size parameter (it is in mebibytes) to how large you want the partition windows is installed on to be, then go ahead and install windows. This will leave the rest of the drive raw instead of consuming it into the OS partition (C drive). Once you successfully boot into Windows, you should be able to use Computer Management -> Disk Management to create partitions in the raw space.


If you really wanted to do it with diskpart before Windows is installed, you basically repeat the following lines making sure to specify a size if you don't want it to consume all remaining space:
  1. create partition primary size=size in mebibytes here
  2. format quick fs=ntfs label="appropriate name here"
  3. assign letter=C thru Z here
Obviously, you can use quick formatting or leave it out for full format. Leave off the size parameter when you reach the final partition that should consume all the remaining space. Also remember that the order you do this in goes from the outside of the disk (where it is fastest) to the inside of the disk (where it is slowest). Because of this, it is recommended to put EFI (e.g. size=300), then MSR (e.g. size=300), then Windows (e.g. size=30000), then Applications (e.g. size=70000), then Storage (e.g. no size parameter).

If I'm right, the above example would look like this:
  1. diskpart
  2. list disk
  3. select disk <id>
  4. online disk
  5. attributes disk clear readonly
  6. clean
  7. convert gpt
  8. create partition efi size=300
  9. create partition msr size=300
  10. create partition primary size=30000
  11. format fs=ntfs label="Windows"
  12. assign letter=C
  13. create partition primary size=70000
  14. format fs=ntfs label="Applications"
  15. assign letter=D
  16. create partition primary
  17. format fs=ntfs label="Storage"
  18. assign letter=E
  19. exit
 
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Koajoe

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#6
Registered just to thank you

FordGT90Concept,

I registered just to thank you for this post. You saved me pulling out my freaking hair!

The internet is way more useful than tech support.

Thanks again!

:rockout: :toast:
 
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#7
Might as well go back to DOS and command lines to do all of that just to install a O/S. :banghead:
BTW; this is the 2nd time I have seen the term "mebibytes" and had to Google it to find out what it meant. More confusion.

.
 
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FordGT90Concept

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#8
megabyte = mega-byte = 10e6 = 1,000,000
mebibyte = mega-binary-byte = 2e20 = 1,048,576

DOS is used because it requires very little memory to run.
 
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#9
FordGT,

Let's say I have a laptop / desktop computer with 2 or 3 or 4 hard disc drives.

Do I follow the instructions for all installed hard disc drives, or does the instructions only apply to the first hard disc drive where the OS is going to reside?

In order to use the other drives after the OS has been installed on the first drive, do I just right-click on the drive icon and use the 'Format ...' command in the pop-up context menu that has appeared on the screen? Instead of performing the same instructions on all installed hard drives? (sounds a bit obvious, but I need a refresher)

Do the instructions still apply if the first drive where the OS is going to reside is a SSD instead of a magnetic hard drive?


Thanks.



TAG
 
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#10
Hi FordGT90! I really need help here. I've spent the last two days trying to install Windows 7 Pro onto a new computer with a 4TB HD without success. I've literally tried every method I could find online; including using Fedora/GDisk/GParted! The new PC's motherboard is an Intel WX58BP with the UEFI setting enabled. I have created a UEFI enabled copy of the retail Windows 7 Pro installation disc by following the official guide on Microsoft's website.

I've followed your instructions to the letter, and yet the newly minted special install disc refuses to install the 64-bit version of Windows 7 onto a GPT partition! It says: "Windows cannot be installed to this disk. The selected disk is of the GPT partition style".

Using MBR and losing 2TB of space is simply intolerable! I'm also not interested in Windows 8. Please help! :cry:
 

FordGT90Concept

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#11
Do I follow the instructions for all installed hard disc drives, or does the instructions only apply to the first hard disc drive where the OS is going to reside?
This only needs to be done for a disk that is going to have Windows boot from it. If you don't intend to boot to it, you can just format it as GPT and the operating system (so long as the OS supports GPT partitions) should be able to use it. That is to say, the HDD Windows is on could be MBR and a 4 TB data drive could be GPT. Nothing needs to change with Windows on the MBR.

Do the instructions still apply if the first drive where the OS is going to reside is a SSD instead of a magnetic hard drive?
The type of the drive doesn't matter. If you want to install Windows on GPT, it takes some work.

Hi FordGT90! I really need help here. I've spent the last two days trying to install Windows 7 Pro onto a new computer with a 4TB HD without success. I've literally tried every method I could find online; including using Fedora/GDisk/GParted! The new PC's motherboard is an Intel WX58BP with the UEFI setting enabled. I have created a UEFI enabled copy of the retail Windows 7 Pro installation disc by following the official guide on Microsoft's website.

I've followed your instructions to the letter, and yet the newly minted special install disc refuses to install the 64-bit version of Windows 7 onto a GPT partition! It says: "Windows cannot be installed to this disk. The selected disk is of the GPT partition style".

Using MBR and losing 2TB of space is simply intolerable! I'm also not interested in Windows 8. Please help! :cry:
Unfortunately, I'm 90% sure no LGA1366 boards support UEFI so it can't boot a GPT volume. You'll have to install the OS on a smaller drive and use the 4 TB as a data drive.
 
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#12
Hi FordGT90! I really need help here. I've spent the last two days trying to install Windows 7 Pro onto a new computer with a 4TB HD without success. I've literally tried every method I could find online; including using Fedora/GDisk/GParted! The new PC's motherboard is an Intel WX58BP with the UEFI setting enabled. I have created a UEFI enabled copy of the retail Windows 7 Pro installation disc by following the official guide on Microsoft's website.

I've followed your instructions to the letter, and yet the newly minted special install disc refuses to install the 64-bit version of Windows 7 onto a GPT partition! It says: "Windows cannot be installed to this disk. The selected disk is of the GPT partition style".

Using MBR and losing 2TB of space is simply intolerable! I'm also not interested in Windows 8. Please help! :cry:
So, why do you not make partition size lower than 2TB(with linux live), so you willl have 2 partition on 4TB hdd?
 
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#13
Unfortunately, I'm 90% sure no LGA1366 boards support UEFI so it can't boot a GPT volume. You'll have to install the OS on a smaller drive and use the 4 TB as a data drive.
Argh! No matter how careful I am, manufacturers always find a way to screw me over. The official specs for the WX58BP do state support for UEFI, and there is indeed a setting in the BIOS to enable it. But if FordGT is saying that it doesn't really work.... I'm so screwed.:nutkick:
 

FordGT90Concept

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#14
ARK
Manual
Downloads

There is a BIOS update that you could try if you haven't already but the manual only makes four references to EFI which gives me the impression it is either limited or not installed. I think it should be able to handle a GPT drive but not booting into it because it isn't full blown EFI.