Urgent Query on GPT in Windows 7

Discussion in 'Windows 7' started by acyuta, May 25, 2012.

  1. acyuta

    acyuta MDL Expert

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    #1 acyuta, May 25, 2012
    Last edited: May 25, 2012
    I have an urgent query on GPT and UEFI BIOS.

    1. I recently purchased a X79 CPU and motherboard (ASUS) which obviously has a UEFI BIOS.
    2. I deleted all the partitions on my boot hard disk (2TB) and after many attempts found out that it has to be GPT.
    3. Anyway, I converted this disk to GPT in partition wizard. Now after converting to GPT, there are 2 alternatives that I found out in my limited experience.
    a. Make say a 150 GB OS partition (call it C drive) and the balance formated as NTFS (not unallocated). Windows 7 does not install because it says there is not enough space to create a system partition. It needs space for 100 MB FAT32 partition and a 128 MB partition.
    b. make the same 150 GB OS partition and the balance as unallocated. Windows 7 then completes install and after that in partition wizard I can see 150 GB OS, 100 MB FAT32 partition, 128 MB partition, and unallocated space. I can then go ahead and create partitions in unallocated space.

    I have no problem in allocating these 2 partitions of 228 MB as it is hardly anything. However, I have some queries:
    1. On a fresh subsequent install with formating prior to install, do I need to format only C; or C, 100MB FAT 32 partition, and 128MB MSR. Perhaps the 128MB MSR has got nothing to do with the specific OS install and can be left as it is.
    2. In acronis free for western digital, do I need to back up only C:150GB. I think this should be the case.
    3. Finally, say on day 1, I did 1 install (say copy 1) and backed up C:. On day 10, I did a new install (say copy 2), backed up. Can I recover copy 1 if I had formated the 100MB partition prior to installing copy 2. The point is that 100MB is dedicated to copy 1 or is independent of copy 1.

    Please help. Also, if it is possible, can I avoid these 100MB and 128MB partitions.
     
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  2. redroad

    redroad MDL Guru

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    Where is Acronis Secure Zone set up at?
     
  3. acyuta

    acyuta MDL Expert

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    I have acronis free for western digital drives. No secure zone created or required. Anyway, I back up to external SATA hard disks.
     
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  4. redroad

    redroad MDL Guru

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    I am pretty sure one issue is that WD acronis does not support GPT..
     
  5. acyuta

    acyuta MDL Expert

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    It does support GPT at least the 2011 one. I backed up and recovered just to see whether it works. The key issue is not acronis but my original thread.
     
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  6. redroad

    redroad MDL Guru

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    Acronis is the back bone of your back up and certainly directly relates to 2 out of the 3 proposed scenarios above but if you don't want to talk about6 then we won't talk about it as to your other issues ..I wouldn't install the OS on a 2TB drive to begin with.. For a lot of reasons a smaller drive for OS is better.. but the main one here is install os on smaller drive and then back up os on the same size drive then the situation your currently in is not an issue because after the initial backup you could do incremental backups to the backup drive and restore/recover to any date you want.

    So with your current urgency do you have one smaller drive?
     
  7. acyuta

    acyuta MDL Expert

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    I am sorry to have caused any offense. It is just that I want to be clear on partition issue.

    Acronis is important to me because I usually work on 2 installs and keep changing thru recovery/backup. I did a quick back on GPT/new system from Acronis WD 2011 and then recovered successfully. The acronis query was related to this scenario. Say I install win 7 enterprise on day 1, and win 7 pro on day 10 after formating C: (and 100MB FAT?)

    As to smaller hard disk, that is definitely in my plans for the next 3-4 months. Smaller hard disk will definitely be a SSD. As of now, nothing smaller than a 1TB. I should not be keeping 1TB for only windows??
     
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  8. redroad

    redroad MDL Guru

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    I am not certain you can accomplish what you want to do with the WD aconis unless it provides you with the option to boot from an acronis boot CD..

    This is what I do with retail Acronis

    OS disk has acronis on it simply to set up acronis on 2nd disk which is acronis backup disk only.

    1) the initial backup is full backup and then incremental from there. I do not use the option to turn on acronis secure zone which gives you the f11 option at boot. In your case if you wanted to do 2 separate OS installs then you would have 2 separate full backups
    2) if there are any issues with OS disk then with acronis boot cd I can see my acronis back up and can choose any point in time which I've backed up to return to or a file etc. That way the 100mb partion is not even a consideration because it restores the total disk to the previous state I want to restore to.

    I hope this helps..No offense taken:biggrin:
     
  9. acyuta

    acyuta MDL Expert

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    Regarding acronis, I have the free acronis for wd (2011) for backing up and recovering in windows.
    For boot, I have the acronis TIH 2012 full with plus pack and universal restore etc (torrent).

    2 separate backups: I do that. The only thing I wanted to know is that on a second install, do I need to format c: or also the extra 2 partitions. They may be containing the bootloader, etc for the first install and I am not sure if acronis backs that up when I made the backup of first install. So I may install copy 2, then later recover copy 1, and find it unbootable.

    What acronis for wd shows by default is that on backup it ticks the c: drive. The 100MB EFI is visible but not ticked. Should I also back it up so that the final image contains both c: and 100MB.
     
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  10. redroad

    redroad MDL Guru

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    Yes full backup using TIH 2012 and create acronis boot CD
     
  11. acyuta

    acyuta MDL Expert

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    AFAIK, there are 3 partitions relevant: the C: drive, 100MB FAT EFI, and 128MB MSR. On backing up, I can backup the 100MB and C:, and then recover to the same even if in the interim, I have formated both C: and 100MB (new install or whatever be the reason).
     
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  12. redroad

    redroad MDL Guru

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  13. acyuta

    acyuta MDL Expert

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    #13 acyuta, May 25, 2012
    Last edited: May 25, 2012
    (OP)
    Ultimately and soon, I will get the hang of it. As of now, I have a C:, 100MB FAT, and a 128MB MSR in that order (as per partition wizard). It is not strictly recommended but it should be fine. I presume that I should let acronis back up C: and 100MB in case I want to install a 2nd copy of windows without destroying the old one.
     
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  14. acyuta

    acyuta MDL Expert

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    I think I may have found a workable solution to install windows 7 on mbr in a uefi bios. It worked for install and maybe should work later too:

    The solution that I found is this"

    Boot from your Windows 7 installation media.
    After booting you see the Install Windows 7 screen, press Shift + F10 to open a command prompt.
    At the command prompt, type Diskpart, press Enter.
    Type List Disk, press Enter.
    Type Select Disk # (where # is the number your drive shows up as), press Enter.
    Type Clean, press Enter.
    Type Convert MBR, press Enter.
    Type Exit, press Enter.
    Close the Command Prompt window.

    Then install windows 7. Since I do not want the system reserved 100 MB partition, I used this link:

    http://www.mydigitallife.net/hack-t...reserved-partition-when-installing-windows-7/

    I have been using this mydigitallife method for 2 years without any ill effects.

    Why I do not prefer the GPT, MSR, and 100MB
    1. Backing up is a hassle
    2. I can be sure of backup if I backup the whole disk but that is not practical on a 2TB disk with multiple partitions. Maybe when I get a 128GB SSD, I can go with GPT, and just backup the whole disk. A 128GB would then be dedicated to the system files and nothing else.
     
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  15. acyuta

    acyuta MDL Expert

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    I think I have more or less solved this problem with the recent purchase of an SSD. Now I can back up the entire disk and not worry about not backing up hidden stuff. However, I could not simply make the above method work on a SSD. It did not work with all disks online and not with only SSD online. Even after conversion to MBR, when I went to install screen with entire disk unallocated, windows 7 either created MSR, etc (GPT) or if I just pressed next on unallocated, it still created GPT.

    I have no problems with GPT but I consider MBR to be more suitable for me especially with an SSD. Any solutions. I can try these solutions because the entire SSD is backed up with acronis and if things do not work, I can recover my windows 7 install in 5 mins.

    On a side note, although Intel has a data migration tool, that is useless for most purposes. However, acronis free for western digital works even on an intel ssd. Perhaps acronis detects other WD hard disks (I have 4) and then proceeds to install. So I use acronis free for wd on intel ssd.
     
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  16. redroad

    redroad MDL Guru

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    #17 redroad, Jun 20, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2012
    The 100mb partition is needed with MBR, however when mutiple drives are installed the 100mb reserve partition will try to install on something other than boot drive so if boot drive is lost the MBR is still accessible. A possible work around is at install only connect clean boot drive for install.. Let 100mb partition install on boot drive..Then after install connect the other drives..

    Note: whatever drive has 100mb reserved partition must be 1st HD in Boot order or you will get MBR error 1

    Having the 100mb reserved partition on boot drive makes it much easier to back up with acronis .. and only if I was using acronis as backup would I do it this way..
     
  17. acyuta

    acyuta MDL Expert

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    I think I have found the solution. On UEFI boards, windows 7 by default creates a GPT disk and then installs. If I wants a MBR then I insert windows 7 dvd in dvd writer.
    Then reboot.
    In BIOS, the options are given as UEFI DVD, DVD, hard disk. If one selects UEFI DVD, then windows 7 will create only GPT, no matter what tricks I do including converting to MBR in diskpart.
    If one selects DVD, then windows 7 loads, and by default it is MBR and I can choose to not make that 100MB system partition. Thus, the disk is initialised as MBR.
     
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  18. Oz

    Oz MDL Expert

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    I haven't used GPT partitions yet, but according to what I have dug up, the 128MB is needed by GPT, the 100MB is the usual one Windows tries to create on an empty drive.
     
  19. redroad

    redroad MDL Guru

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    Yes your right, the MBR is on the 100mb reserve partition.. I'll edit my post ..Thanks Oz