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How to Resolve “Windows cannot be installed to this disk” error

You usually witness this error when you are trying to install Windows on UEFI based PCs using Windows Setup. To assist the installation process, your hard drive partition must either support Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) mode or Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) mode. All the new Windows 8 PCs come with UEFI mode and do not support legacy BIOS mode. UEFI is installed at the time of manufacturing and is the first program to run when the computer is turned on. UEFI is what connects a computer’s firmware to its operating system.

There are 2 types of partitioning structures- Master Boot Record (MBR) and GUID Partition Table (GPT). Master Boot Record disks use Standard BIOS Partition table and GUID partition disks use UEFI partitioning style. Although not many systems use GPT today because of its advantages over MBR and hence is expected to replace MBR soon.

Having mentioned all the above points, it is easy to understand why we end up with Windows cannot be installed to this disk. The selected disk is not of the GPT partition style error. It is because your PC is booted in UEFI mode and it needs to be installed on GPT. The original Operating system supports MBR partition structure. Hence, we must convert MBR to GPT and then install again.

Two effective solutions to fix Windows cannot be installed to this disk error:

 

  1. Manually wipe a drive and convert it to GPT:

 

  1. Turn off your PC and put Windows Installation DVD or USB
  2. Now start the PC, you will find an Install Windows screen.
  3. Press Shift + F10 to open Command Prompt.
  4. Type the following commands and press Enter key after every command:

                         diskpart

                         listdisk

  1. Select the disk number of the disk you want to wipe and type:

E.g. If the disk you want to install Windows is numbered 1, then you must type: Select disk 1

                          Select disk number

                          Clean

                          Convert gpt

                          exit

  1. After you type exit and press Enter key, the command prompt will be closed.
  2. Continue Windows Setup Installation.
  3. It prompts you to select the type of Installation that is required, chooses
  4. The Driver will be seen as a single area of unallocated space.
  5. Choose unallocated space and click on the next
  6. Windows installation will begin now.

 

  1. To wipe and convert the drive to gpt using Windows Setup:
    1. Turn off your PC and put Windows Installation DVD or USB
    2. Boot the PC to the DVD or USB key in UEFI mode:
    • Boot the PC and press any manufacturer’s key to open the menus. Common keys used are Esc, Delete, F1, F2, F10 or F11.
    • On the boot device menu, select UEFI: USB DRIVE
    1.    It prompts you to select the type of Installation that is required, choose Custom.
    2. On the Where do you want to install Windows? Screen, select each of the partitions on the drive and select Delete.
    3. A single area of unallocated space is seen.
    4. Select this unallocated space and click on Next.
    5. Windows detects that the PC was booted into UEFI mode, and reformats the drive using the GPT drive format, and begins the installation.

    Note that both the above methods involve deleting of partitions and erasing of your data from your disks. Hence it is advisable to take a backup in advance. After the Windows installation, you can make use of Remo Recover to get back your deleted partitions. Remo Recover recovers data from a GPT protective partition on Windows 10/8/, Vista, XP, Server 2003 & 2008.  You can also recover data from corrupted partitions using Remo Recover.

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