Help me setup a new system (GPT/MBR, Bios/UEFI confusion)

Discussion in 'Windows 8' started by ceo54, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. ceo54

    ceo54 MDL Member

    Aug 13, 2015
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    Hi everyone,

    So I've got myself a new machine and grabbed 8.1 64bit ISO from aboddi's links but I'm all too confused on how should I go about formatting the drive and installing Windows. The first and foremost thing would be to clean the disk from manufacturers installed documents/help files etc and removing DOS. Should I use Diskpart ? If yes then how so ? Or will the Windows PE would clean everything and merge the partitions so that I can later re-partition according to my own choices. The goal here is to claim every inch of the drive for my files and prevent creating System reserved and recovery partitions etc. I'm speculating that System restore should still work without the recovery partition. In all honesty I don't have a slightest of idea how this restore thing works on disk level and how to create or manage recovery partitions. I just want two partitions on the drive, one for the OS and another for the personal files and documents.

    After this is done I'm planning to install Windows with MBR scheme. Should be pretty straightforward. Is there anything else I need to take care of in this stage ? My machine's Bios has CSM enabled by default.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for reading.
     
  2. John Sutherland

    John Sutherland MDL Addicted

    Oct 15, 2014
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    Hello @ceo54 - You're on the right track. If you installed Windows 8.1 on a UEFI system, you would end up with four system partitions: Recovery, Windows EFI System Partition(ESP), Microsoft Reserved Partition(MSR), and the Windows C:\ system partition. If you install 8.1 on a MBR system, you'll end up with just two partitions: Recovery and Windows C:\ system.

    I would recommend letting Windows create the Recovery partition. It's only 350 or 400MB in size, and I do believe you do need it to perform a system refresh or to boot into Safe Mode in Windows 8.1.

    Here's what I would do:

    1.) Make sure the target disk for installing Windows 8.1 is the only disk connected to the system. You can add other disks to the system after installing Windows.

    2.) Go into your BIOS settings and check two things: a.) Legacy/CSM is enabled as the boot mode. b.) The target disk appears as the first device in the boot order.

    3.) Boot the machine using your Windows 8.1 installation media. One the first screen, you'll see the selections for language, country, keyboard. On the second screen, you'll see "Install Windows" in the middle of the screen. DO NOT click it! Instead, go to the bottom left corner and click "Repair my computer". Be patient here, it takes a while before you see the first blue screen.

    4.) On the first blue screen, select "Troubleshoot".

    5.) On the second blue screen, select "Advanced Options".

    6.) On the third blue screen, select "Command Prompt".

    7.) In the Command Prompt, enter the command "diskpart". You are now in the diskpart command subset.

    8.) Now enter "list disk". If you only have one disk connected to the system, you will see Disk 0 as the only disk listed. If you didn't follow Step #1, you will see multiple disks listed, and it's up to you to figure out which one is the target disk for installation.

    9.) Next enter "select disk 0". (Or the correct target disk if there is more than one.) Any commands from here on will only be performed on the selected disk.

    10.) Enter "clean". This will overwrite the existing partition table on the disk, so make sure you've selected the correct disk in the previous step.

    11.) Now enter "convert mbr". This will initialize the disk by creating a new MBR partition table.

    12.) Enter "exit" to close diskpart, then enter "exit" a second time to close the Command Prompt.

    13.) Navigate your way back to the first blue screen and select "Shut down my computer".

    14.) Reboot and install Windows 8.1. Let Windows do the disk partitioning and formatting itself. After getting everything set up and running, use Windows Disk Management to shrink your Windows C:\ system partition, and to create and format your new data partition.
     
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  3. Enthousiast

    Enthousiast MDL Tester

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    I just put in the USB/DVD and boot from it, on disk setup delete all partitions, create new partitions and install.
     
  4. John Sutherland

    John Sutherland MDL Addicted

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    And if the disk already has an existing GPT partition table on it, what will happen if your BIOS is set to Legacy/CSM boot mode? There is a conflict.
     
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  5. Enthousiast

    Enthousiast MDL Tester

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    When all existing partitions are deleted, the setup will use the MBR setup for the newly created partitions (when booted with Legacy BIOS install medium, or selected), only thing is that no other GPT partitioned hdd's are connected, same as in your todo list :)
     
  6. mehdibleu

    mehdibleu MDL Expert

    Jun 14, 2017
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    You were very meticulous by giving all these instructions, well done, i agree with almost all what you said except for one thing , from what i understood, he bought his machine in FreeDos and if it's the case no need to convert the disk to MBR as the disk is already in MBR by default on a freedos machine.
     
  7. John Sutherland

    John Sutherland MDL Addicted

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    Thanks for the compliment. I admit I am meticulous, and I try not to leave even the slightest thing to chance. Whenever I do a clean installation, I always initialize the disk, either through a third party disk utility or by using Diskpart, so that I'm starting out with a clean MBR and a clean partition table. Sometimes OEMs like Dell or HP modify the MBR to allow access to a partition that contains the recovery image or special hardware diagnostic tools. Lenovo was famous for it's hidden recovery partition that was accessed through the blue key marked "ThinkVantage". If you don't get rid of this extra code in the MBR it can lead to boot issues that you never dreamed of. I learned about these things like a lot of other things in life: the hard way.
     
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  8. mehdibleu

    mehdibleu MDL Expert

    Jun 14, 2017
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    yes i agree, when you buy a machine whether OEM or not, extra precautions must always be taken by cleaning all the partitions to avoid issues later, i have just pointed out that conversion to MBR was not necessary on freedos machines as the disk is in MBR by defaut even if doing it does not take time as the conversion is done in few seconds. I bought a freedos Lenovo machine 2 years ago and i didn't need to convert the disk to MBR, i just deleted all the partitions, created a new one and proceeded to the installation.
     
  9. ceo54

    ceo54 MDL Member

    Aug 13, 2015
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    Hi John. Thank you for the detailed instructions. Highly appreciated. Okay I"ll let Windows create recovery partition. Though I couldn't grasp one thing, why does Windows creates system reserved partition and what's it's used for?
     
  10. ceo54

    ceo54 MDL Member

    Aug 13, 2015
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    Thanks for the reply Enthousiast. That appears pretty straightforward but my problem is that HP has pre installed help and support documents that I want to get rid of. It's not so much about that space but keeping things organised.
     
  11. Enthousiast

    Enthousiast MDL Tester

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    Where would those files be stored? Probably on the partitions you can simply delete when you boot from the usb install thumbdrive. i always do it the simple way.
     
  12. ceo54

    ceo54 MDL Member

    Aug 13, 2015
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    Yeah that's correct. My machine came with DOS. To my bad luck machine has turned out to be faulty so I've had to file a request for a replacement. HP employees were very humble and cooperative but it's official distributor Savex employees are rude and uncooperative. They've given me five days time to replace the unit commencing from yesterday. Let's see if I can force them to make it any faster.
     
  13. ceo54

    ceo54 MDL Member

    Aug 13, 2015
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    Yeah that would be it. So if I delete a partition , the space allocated to it should get merged with other partitions ?
     
  14. Enthousiast

    Enthousiast MDL Tester

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    How many disks are connected?

    When it's just one, delete all partitions and repartition it during setup. I've shown the screens.
     
  15. ceo54

    ceo54 MDL Member

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    Yeah it's just one disk. Okay I got it. But I"ll still have to use Diskpart to create the partitions before installing Windows and prevent it from creating System reserved partition.
     
  16. Enthousiast

    Enthousiast MDL Tester

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    In the time you are asking this all you could have installed windows 1000th times.

    You wanted all data from the OEM gone, delete ALL partition during setup and you can repartition however you like, windows always will setup the needed system partitions itself. You can have up to 4 primary partitions on MBR and up to 127 on GPT.
     
  17. ShiningDog

    ShiningDog MDL Senior Member

    Feb 25, 2018
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    Clean format means delete the system partiton + c drive, then create new partition in that unallocated space and let windows create a new system partition.
    a system partition is necessary if any one plan to use bitlocker or any disk encryption.
     
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