How do I install Windows 7 to a 4TB GPT partition?

Mark
Mark used Ask the Experts™
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I've spent 12 hours on this already. Can it be done? How?
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Erasmo Freire dos SantosSystem Analyst

Commented:
Hi,

Yes, this is possible

See this link

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn336946.aspx
Can you maybe tell if you are using the 64-bit (x64) version of Windows 7.
As the above link does mention, please check the BIOS and make sure the computer does boot in UEFI mode,

You also might have a look at this article.
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2581408
Within the article there is also a section with Issues/Limitations
quote/
Many storage controller manufacturers offer updated drivers that provide support for storage capacities of more than 2 TB. Contact your storage controller manufacturer or OEM to determine what downloadable support is available for single-disk capacities that are greater than 2 TB.
/quote
Can you tell what kind of hard disk you are using, manufacturer/model.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
zalazar basically covers this, but to be blunt:

If your computer does not support UEFI as its BIOS then you CANNOT use a drive larger than 2TB *AND* access all the space that drive offers if you make it your boot/system drive.  

What computer/motherboard are you trying this with?
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Most Valuable Expert 2015

Commented:
It depends:

1. Your Windows OS MUST be the 64bit version. It won't work with a 32bit version of Windows (If it were Linux, this would also work with a 32bit OS).

2. Your PC MUST be a newer model and have an UEFI BIOS. Windows can't be installed to a GPT disk if the BIOS is not an UEFI BIOS (Also this isn't true to Linux, it can also be installed to a GPT disk if the BIOS is not UEFI).

3. The disk must either be completely new with no formatting info on it, or already initialized as a GPT disk, or you must convert it to GPT during the installation using diskpart. If the disk is set to MBR rather than GPT, only 2TB of it can be used. After an installation is finished, an MBR disk can't be converted to GPT (or you'd loose all data on it).

4. If your installation media for Windows 7 comes on a USB stick or HD, it must be formatted as Fat32, not NTFS. If it is formatted as NTFS, you can only install it to an MBR disk...

When you boot your PC and the BIOS is set up correctly, you'll have two boot options to boot your DVD or USB stick/disk from, UEFI or Normal. Here you must select UEFI.

Author

Commented:
OK, here's the blow-by-blow ... I have a 64 bit computer and Windows 7 x64 on a DVD. The motherboard is an ASUS P8Z68-V LX which, from everything I can gather from the manual and BIOS setup is UEFI. In fact I cannot find a setting to select otherwise. I am using a new drive: WD 4TB Red (model WDBMMA0040HNC-NRSN). It did start with no formatting information, but between the dozens of attempts I've deleted the partition tables with Linux to start over.

During installation, when I get to the "choose partition to install ..." screen, I select the "load driver" option and load the latest ASUS driver. When I refresh the screen it does show 4TB (actually 37nnnnnM). If I continue with a normal install from there I end up with a 2TB C: drive.

Or ... before continuing the installation after loading the driver I do SHFT-10 to get to a command prompt and run:

> diskpart
: select disk 0
: clean
: convert GPT
: exit
> exit

which, I believe should set the partition to GPT. Back on the "Choose partition ..." screen it does still show the partition at 4TB. Nevertheless, when the installation finishes I still end up with a 2TB drive. When I use the Storage Manager to try to extend the partition I get a message to the effect "Cannot extend MBR partition".

The fact that it shows a 4TB drive in the Installation partition screen leads me to believe it can see the whole drive at that point. Somewhere downstream it loses that and reverts to a MBR formatted drive. If, on the "choose partition ..." screen I select the 'Format' option, it formats 3 partitions: 0 at 100M, 1 at 2TB, 3 at 1.xxTB, unallocated. Partition 1 cannot be extended (tried) and to top it off it then says cannot install Windows to partition 1.

Where am I taking the wrong fork in the road?
Most Valuable Expert 2015

Commented:
When you have the Boot options your DVD should show up twice, one of them labeled as "UEFI". You must choose that "UEFI" version of the DVD shown to boot from. You can probably also set that directly in the BIOS somewhere. If you boot to the standard, non UEFI version of the DVD, you will only be able to install it to an MBR disk.
Top Expert 2013

Commented:
the only thing at this point ( see also your other Q) is that you have bad hardware - disk, ram or motherboard
http://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/28925959/How-to-set-up-raid-on-ASUS-P8Z68-V-LX-motherboard.html

so it can be wise to test these - before going further; i suggest UBCD for this:
Hardware diagnostic CD    UBCD
---------------------------------------------------
go to the download page, scroll down to the mirror section, and  click on a mirror to start the download
Download the UBCD and make the cd   <<==on a WORKING PC, and boot the problem PC from it
Here 2 links, one to the general site, and a direct link to the download

since the downloaded file is an ISO file, eg ubcd527.iso - so you need to use an ISO burning tool
if you don't have that software, install cdburnerXP : http://cdburnerxp.se/

If you want also the Ram tested - run memtest86+ at least 1 full pass,  - you should have NO errors!
 
For disk Diagnostics run the disk diag for your disk brand (eg seagate diag for seagate drive)  from the HDD section -  long or advanced diag !  (runs at least for30 minutes)

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/                        ultimate boot cd
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/download.html             download page

**  you can make a bootable cd - or bootable usb stick

for completeness -here's how i handle disk problems : http://www.experts-exchange.com/Storage/Hard_Drives/A_3000-The-bad-hard-disk-problem.html
Top Expert 2016
Commented:
press f8 on boot to get your boot options and select uefi boot. if you simply have boot from cd set first it will do a mbr boot.

Author

Commented:
David Johnson, yes, thank you! That was the bit of information I needed!!!

After hours of surfing for answers I found not very explicit references to using F8 at boot and selecting to boot the Windows Installation DVD in UEFI mode. That did it! I guess everyone on the planet knows this simple fact and therefore is would be a redundant waste of ink to actually put something like, "If you want to use drives bigger than 2.2G, use F8 to get the boot menu and boot the installation DVD as UEFI". For my part, however, although I've installed dozens of Windows systems from DVD, I've never done a +2.2G system and I had no clue about this. I only ever used F8 if I wanted to override the bios settings of boot order and since the DVD was the 1st in the order and it booted, I never gave F8 a thought.

A simple one-line statement on the Windows 7 install CD would have saves me many hours of frustration.
Most Valuable Expert 2015

Commented:
Didn't I tell you to select the UEFI version of the DVD in the BIOS too? F8 is for a "one-time" boot, but you can also select which DVD version to boot from in the BIOS.
Top Expert 2016

Commented:
There is a hitch involved if you boot efi mode the disk will be formatted as gpt. If you boot into efi mode and the hard disk is mbr then you can't install.  in a perfect world the bios would see the two modes available and then prompt you which one do you want. Windows Media from Windows 6.1 onward (maybe even Vista Windows 6.0) are dual boot (mbr/efi) so it is up to the bios manufacturer to add that option. Perhaps one day the standard disk will be 3TB or more in the future either the mbr boot will go away or the bios will prompt you for which boot loader you want.

Author

Commented:
rindi:
Didn't I tell you to select the UEFI version of the DVD in the BIOS too?
There is no such option in my BIOS -- one that I could see anyway. I search the 81 page manual over and over for such information. You had the right idea, but I couldn't get there without the F8 info. Knowing that detail would have saved me LOTS of pain.

David Johnson:
There is a hitch involved if you boot efi mode the disk will be formatted as gpt.
The 1T boot drive is not formatted GPT. It is EFI. In fact, it didn't default the 4T drive to GPT either. I had to use Storage > Computer Management to convert it to GPT whereupon it automatically merged the 2 unallocated partitions to 1 4T partition.
If you boot into efi mode and the hard disk is mbr then you can't install. in a perfect world the bios would see the two modes available and then prompt you which one do you want.
Yes, I found that out too, but didn't bother to mention it.  I found that the boot order set in the BIOS is now pretty useless. You basically have to select "Windows Boot Manager" (I think that's what it says) as the 1st boot device and it will find the UEFI boot drive. If you specify DVD as the 1st device and it is not UEFI (e.g. Linux boot DVD or Windows Installation DVD) nothing happens. The system just hangs. Now, to boot off a non-UEFI device I have to use F8 -- at least that's how this BIOS works.
Windows Media from Windows 6.1 onward (maybe even Vista Windows 6.0) are dual boot (mbr/efi) so it is up to the bios manufacturer to add that option
As I said to rindi -- that "boot option" is nowhere to be found in the bios. Nor do any options automatically show up during boot. I believe that after 12 hours of searching I would have found it either in the bios itself (pretty easy to navigate, actually) or in the searchable PDF manual. Then again, maybe I'm cognitively challenged. (Actually, now that I've installed as UEFI, that option *does* show up in the BIOS, but it definitely did not before).
Most Valuable Expert 2015

Commented:
I have a similar board from Asus, and when you enter the BIOS with F2 or Del, at the bottom of the first display I have "Boot Priority", and there I have symbols of Optical drives and HD's. My boot HD is shown twice, once with "UEFI" Beneath it. The same applies to the Optical drive, provided my UEFI bootable DVD or CD is inserted. I can then drag the UEFI DVD to the start. If I booted the PC without the DVD in the drive and go into the BIOS, then there is only one Optical drive shown.

I can also go into the Advanced settings section, and there under boot I have the same options available if I scroll down far enough.

Maybe you entered the BIOS without having the DVD in the drive.

I looked at the manual of your board and the BIOS settings you have there look very similar to mine.

Author

Commented:
rindi:
I have a similar board from Asus, and when you enter the BIOS with F2 or Del, at the bottom of the first display I have "Boot Priority", and there I have symbols of Optical drives and HD's. My boot HD is shown twice, once with "UEFI" Beneath it.
Yes, as I said in my last sentence, those options do show up NOW, but they did not until after I F8'ed, selected the UEFI option for the DVD, then installed Windows. Without using F8 the DVD boots MBR, no options presented.

Yes, I probably entered the BIOS without having the DVD in the drive initially. I don't normally do that if I'm just messing with the BIOS, but surely I didn't take it out each of the many times I entered the BIOS. This machine is in production now, but later, when I disconnect the boot drive, I'll experiment entering the BIOS with and without the DVD in the drive. Not very intuitive in any case.

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