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Can we install win8.1 32 bit in uefi mode?

Posted on 2015-01-20
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Last Modified: 2015-01-22
Experts,

I saw contradictory statements on this matter. I tried it and was unable to install win8.1 x86 in UEFI mode to a hyper-V disk (generation 2), setup did not even start - this is expected behavior according to microsoft. Neither could I install it to a real disk when UEFI mode was used to address the USB setup media.
Has anyone managed to do it? Or is the info here https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windows/en-US/9b8b18b3-df53-4f00-a584-1b1617b57ea9/windows-7-32bit-uefi-installation?forum=w7itproinstall "Windows 8 x86 was made to support UEFI" plainly wrong? I even saw people claiming they installed it in UEFI mode, but I don't trust those anymore since it did not work on two instances here (while x64 of course worked and x86 in non-uefi worked, too).
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Question by:McKnife
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
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McKnife, my understanding is that it can be made to work on a Version 2 VM but is all to do with the way the EFI boot manager is configured on the installation media so not straight forward.  The problem is with an .efi file that calls for a "Press any Key to Boot from Disk" prompt and once that's called the VM install is doomed.  The .efi needs editing to prevent the prompt and then it should work.

I say "my understanding" as I haven't played with this yet but was pointed to a Technet article which has a walkthrough.  

I'll see if I can find a reference but am half-way between breakfast and leaving for work right now and will have to find it later (unless you see it first!).

Will work, won't work "out of the box"!
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by:McKnife
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Hmm, what about the physical systems? Tried a 2nd physical one just now and that works neither with 32 bit setup.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
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Sounds like I'm going to have to try this too, or at least monitor this thread (!)
This is the Technet Article and page I'm referring to but this may just deal with the display issue in the VM.

I don't think I've got any UEFI physical machines to play with right now though :(

I'm guessing you've already sorted out GPT on the boot drive and disabled CSM on the motherboard.
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by:McKnife
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"sorted out GPT" - setup does not start, it does not matter if a hard drive is even installed.
"disabled CSM" - what do you mean?
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
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Compatibility Support Module (CSM), usually enabled by default on UEFI capable motherboard - makes the EFI look like a standard BIOS and allows MBR.  If present needs disabling if you are installing to EFI
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by:rindi
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If you start the Hyper-V Manager and create a new VM, then select the "Generation 2" option, there is some info under that option that says it "requires a supported 64-bit guest operating system". So based on that you can't install the 32 bit OS as a VM under UEFI mode.

Besides that, you can only install a 64bit version of Windows 8.1 if your UEFI based PC is 64 bit. If the UEFI based PC is 32 bit, you can only install the 32 bit version of Windows 8.1 (naturally). Check the m$ link below, it shows what installs to what hardware:

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh824898.aspx
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by:McKnife
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Hi rindi.
"if your UEFI based PC is 64 bit" - that is something I came across before. Naturally, the CPU is 64 bit capable, but is it that what you mean? About VMs: I know and I wrote that, yes, it does not work. But I am talking about physical machines, mainly.
@masq, yes, tried that in vain.
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by:rindi
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What I mean is that if your PC is 64 bit, then you can only install the 64 bit versions of Windows to it in UEFI mode. The OS bits have to match the CPU in bits. If you want to install a 32 bit OS to a PC with 64 bit CPU, you have to turn off UEFI mode. If the CPU is only 32 bit, then you can only install a 32 bit version of Windows, but you can use UEFI mode then.
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by:McKnife
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Ok, if it were as you state it and if it were also true that some people that claim in other forums to have installed 32 bit in UEFI, that would mean their processors are 32 bit. Let me ask you what 32 bit processor would run win 8.x? Because a CPU requirement for win8.x is to have the no-execute (NX) instruction set and that is not present on 32 bit CPUs in general.

So one is wrong.
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by:McKnife
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By the way, if someone wonders "why on earth would someone care": I tried to port an installation to new hardware. The old installation was win8.1 32 bit non-uefi. With 8.1 x64 non-uefi, it is no problem to simply clone the system partition to an x64 UEFI system that is a clean install and overwrite c: - it will boot. But not with x86. That's why I ask whether it is even possible to run x86 in UEFI.
The target system is UEFI-only, there's simply no option in the bios to change that (Lenovo yoga 2 11).
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by:rindi
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Not many 32bit CPU's are being built anymore, but there are some Atom CPU's targeted for tablets and phones, and those often still are 32 bit, and they would support NX. I have an older netbook with an Atom 32 bit, and Windows 8.1 runs fine on it. But it's too old to have an UEFI BIOS. But more modern systems would have an UEFI BIOS usually.
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☠ MASQ ☠ earned 300 total points
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Ahhh ....
32bit Firmware core required, board comes with 64bit as standard which will only work with 64bit OS
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/olivnie/archive/2012/12/20/windows-8-uefi-support.aspx

So not the hardware components, the UEFI firmware needs to match.

Next where to get this - I guess search Board manufacturer's support page
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by:McKnife
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Conclusion: if anyone (like me) wants to shift a non-uefi 32 bit installation to new hardware with UEFI-only-boot (which is a limitation of certain devices!), he will fail unless that hardware explicitly has firmware that supports x86 UEFI or both x86 and x64 UEFI. The devices I tried when testing all had x64-only-UEFI.

You both helped to find the missing information, thanks.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
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Thanks, I learnt quite a bit here too :)
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