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Making a GPT partition bootable

Posted on 2016-07-15
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Last Modified: 2016-11-22
I don't do a lot with UEFI or GPT. I got a Dell in that there seems to be a problem with the hard drive. Almost as if the System Partition isn't marked bootable or active. I tried setting it with diskpart but it responded that it is a GPT disk. So what do I need to do to make sure the system partition is active and bootable on a GPT disk?
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Question by:LockDown32
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alandc earned 168 total points
ID: 41713486
GPT and UEFI (controlled by OS) work together as a system like MBR and BIOS. But you cannot one combined with the other as a boot disk.

You can have a GPT disk in a MBR boot BIOS system but not as the boot disk.   Similarly you can mount an MBR volume on a GPT/UEFI system but cannot make it the boot disk.

There are propositions to convert an OS installation of MBR/BIOS to GPT/UEFI but they involve registry hacking followed by a purposeful BSOD and then rebooting your system (while making the form a crucifix and keeping your fingers crossed.)

Most new systems build will be GPT with UEFI and most of the older computers have historically been BIOS with MBR disk systems.  Most systems with UEFI will boot quickly past any option to press F2 or DEL to enter BIOS editing mode.  To get into the system settings you have to use the OS power/restart options or use an OS boot/install disk.

To specifically answer your question:  GPT disks don't have the same definition of an "active" partition for booting.  Instead it has and EFI partition that holds definition of which partitions are bootable. There are several tools available for editing that.     On Ubuntu: efibootmgr  For Windows: bcdedit  If you like third party tools use EasyUEFI.
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by:garycase
garycase earned 166 total points
ID: 41713532
What version of Windows are you using?  Note that pre-Vista versions can't boot from a GPT disk; and Vista and '7 require the x64 version of the OS and a UEFI-based system.    There are some hacks to allow Windows 7 boot from a non-UEFI system, but I wouldn't make those mods.
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by:LockDown32
ID: 41713645
It is Windows 10. GPT and UEFI are not a guess. They are known. When this think boots all I get a a blue screen with moving circle and it eventually times out saying no boot device available yet I can boot the Windows 10 DVD and get to the command prompt. Everything it there. Windows folders and all.
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by:garycase
garycase earned 166 total points
ID: 41713653
I've seen this same issue during '10 installs.   I resolved it by wiping the SSD so it was completely uninitialized (used WD's Data Lifeguard and did a "Write Zeroes" to the drive); then did the install again.    I haven't confirmed it, but I THINK the reason it was set wrong was the boot mode I had selected for the install DVD ... i.e. if you boot it in UEFI mode, the installation requires that mode;  if you boot the DVD in legacy mode, the install works okay in legacy.

... in any event, wiping it and booting the install media in legacy mode took care of it.
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by:noxcho
noxcho earned 166 total points
ID: 41713864
How did this start happening? Have you done any changes to BIOS settings?
The partition which must be active is the one which contains EFI Loader and BootMGR file.
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by:LockDown32
ID: 41714863
As it turns out the hard drive was defective. Thanks guys.
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