Windows is powerful software that has worked efficiently on our systems for decades. When you upgrade your version or switch from a different program to Windows, it happens smoothly, and it is fully functional. All credit to the Streamline technology Microsoft. But sometimes, while installing, it may face errors like windows cannot be installed to this disk or windows cannot be installed to this disk MBR. As a result, the installation cannot be completed. This happens when the boot mode of your PC is incompatible with a specific hard drive partition style, GPT, or MBR. So you need to find out which boot mode your PC is using and change it.
Through this guide, we will tell you about the errors that occur during setting up Windows OS that shows different windows cannot be installed to this disk messages and the ways to troubleshoot them. Also, in the next section, we talk about the significance of having UEFI or BIOS legacy versions.
How UEFI/BIOS Legacy Versions Affect the Windows Installation
Every computer has two low-level software programs-UEFI or BIOS Legacy Versions. They are stored on the motherboard to initiate the computer and all the hardware to start before it starts booting its operating system.
However, UEFI is considered to be the more advanced and preferred option for the latest Windows versions.
- UEFI: Unified Extensible Firmware Interface firmware boots much larger drives (2.2 terabytes) at a faster time, compared to its counterpart BIOS. It runs on either 32-bit or 64-bit mode. The graphics and mouse cursor support are much more efficient. In addition, it has security features like identifying and removing malware while booting.
UEFI supports the GPT partition style of hardware. GPT follows a partition structure of GUID (Globally Unique Identifiers) that allows unlimited partitions of any size.
- BIOS: Basic Input, Output System is the age-old firmware used in most old versions. Having a processor of 16-bit almost makes it impossible to initialize multiple devices simultaneously. Moreover, with only 1 MB executable space, one can only expect longer booting times.
BIOS supports the MBR partition style of hardware. It can create up to 4 primary partitions with a maximum partition size of 2TB.
If the motherboard of your PC has BIOS Legacy, it will not read the GPT disks. Consecutively, if the motherboard has UEFI, it will not read MBR disks. So when you try to install windows against this, the windows cannot be installed to this disk occurs.
How can you change the GPT partition to BIOS?
You may have to change the GPT partition to BIOS if you see this; windows cannot be installed to this disk. The selected disk is of the GPT partition style.
But why does this happen?
When you see this message, it probably catches your attempt to install Windows on a GPT disk. But your motherboard will be compatible with the Legacy BIOS mode only. So it will only recognize an MBR disk rather than a GPT disk.
To solve windows cannot be installed to this disk problem, the first step would be to inspect BIOS Setup.
- Restart your PC.
- Repeatedly press the BIOS key button (you will find the key from your computer manual).
- Once you are inside the Setup Utility, go to the Boot tab menu. Here you will be able to see which mode your PC is using.
If you get the option to select from either BIOS Legacy or UFEI or both, select the one that shows both. Your job will be done here. Now you will not find the windows cannot be installed to this disk GPT error. So to install windows in whichever drive you want.
If it is only displaying Legacy BIOS, there is no option to switch to UEFI; the only probable option would be to convert the GPT disk into a form MBR disk.
Solution 1: Use Diskpart to convert to MRB Disk
Solution 2: Use Disk Management Utility
Windows Cannot Be Installed to a Disk — Troubleshooting
To tackle the windows cannot be installed to this disk error, most of the time, the option will either convert GPT disk to MBR disk while installing Windows. Or change the boot system from BOIS to UEFI and vice versa.
Facing the error, windows cannot be installed to this disk GPT, which means your boot system is BOIS. So you need to convert the disk to MBR. Use any of these methods.
1. Use Diskpart to Delete GPT Partition and Create New MBR
Put the Windows Media disk for installation in the DVD section. The Windows Setup will appear.
Start Command Prompt by pressing Shift + F10.
Enter the following commands in sequence as given:
- ‘Diskpart’ Press enter.
- ‘list disk’ Press enter.
It will show the list of hard drives available. Select wherever you will install.
- ‘select disk’ Press enter.
- ‘Clean’ Press enter.
- ‘Convert mbr’ Press enter (This will convert the partition to MBR style)
- ‘Exit’ Press enter.
2. Try Out the Disk Management Utility
- Go to the Search bar and search ‘Disk Management’ or ‘Create and Format Hard Disk Partitions’ from the control Panel. It depends on which windows version you are using.
- As the Disk Management Window appears, find GPT Disk from the list and delete all.
- Now the disk is clean, and space increases.
- Choose the option “convert to MBR disk”.
Follow one of these methods for the error; windows cannot be installed to this disk MBR.
3. Disable UEFI Boot Sources
- Go to Boot Setup, pressing the Boot keys
- In the section for Boot Order, find the UEFI boot sources and disable them.
- Save all the changes.
After installation of windows, you can enable the UEFI boot sources.
4. Format Hardrive, Delete Partition and Create New
Another option would be to format the drive by deleting one partition and create a new partition with the GPT style. But in this method, all your saved files would get deleted.
You can do this while installing windows.
- You will be prompted to choose a drive where you wish to save in.
- Once you open it, the partitions will be shown. Select one.
- Select the option for delete from the bottom.
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