A way to format your GPT drive to MBR
If you buy a new computer right now there is a big possibility that it will have pre installed the newest version of Windows 8.
Although many of you could be mesmerized by the new features and the implementation of the touch screens in this new OS, there are still some of us that do not like it and that believe that Windows 7 is the right choice for your system. I am one of those persons.
As the installation of Windows 7 is not as easy as it was before, I thought that a small tutorial on how is this done could be useful for some of you.
The complications appear here, as in order to be able to have Windows 8 on your system your HDD has to be formatted in GPT mode. GPT is the abbreviation of Global Unique IDentifiers Partition Table.
The difference between this type of HDD and the MBR ones (Master Boot Record) is relevant for some of us and irrelevant for others. The limitation for MBR users can appear when we are speaking of large HDD’s, as the maximum partition size for a MBR drive can be 2 TB.
As I am one of those that do not have any problems with the MBR partition and I am also one of those that after a 4 month trial, realized that Windows 8 is not an option for me, here is how this is done for a Lenovo Z500 laptop. This procedure can be applied for sure for different systems out there .
The first thing that you need to do is to create a bootable USB flash drive for Windows 7. Once you have a Windows 7 ISO image, you can create your bootable flash drive with the UNetbootin tool, that can be downloaded from here .
Next step is to create another USB bootable flash drive, but this time with the Gnome Partition Editor (GParted).
As you already have installed UNetbootin tool on your computer use it to create the bootable flash drive. Download the GParted Live ISO file from here and follow the Windows Method C steps.
The next step is to backup everything that you have on your HDD (maybe with a portable HDD) as this method will do a clean install on your HDD and therefore all the information will be erased.
The following step will be to download all the Windows 7 drivers necessary for your system. In my case the drivers for Lenovo Z500 for Windows 7 (32bit & 64bit) were found here.
As now we are done with the backup and the bootable flash drives it is time to start the actual process.
Insert the flash drive with GParted Live.
Restart your system in BIOS mode and adjust the following:
Go to Boot Menu – Boot Mode – and select the option “Legacy Support” and in “Boot Device Priority” select to boot first from the USB flash drive. Now go on “Exit” menu and push Enter on the “Exit Saving Settings”.
If you did everything as instructed , your computer will boot now from the USB directly in the GParted interface. Once entered here select “GParted Live default settings” – Don’t touch key map – (for English) – “Continue to start X to use GParted automatically”.
Now you should be in the in the GParted interface and you should be able to select the GParted app by double-clicking it. Once you entered you will be able to see all your disk drives.
You have to select one of them, go to the “Device ” menu and select “Create partition table”. Once here you will have to select the “msdos” option. Once this step is finished the selected drive will be MBR. Repeat this steps for all your drives.
Once this is done you will need to decide how much space to allocate to each partition and then to format it in the desired format (I am going always for NTFS).
Insert the Windows 7 bootable flash drive.
After this step is over you can exit the GParted app by double-clicking the Power Off button on the main interface window and select the Shut Down option.
It might be necessary at this point to enter again in the boot menu, as described before and maybe select again the target from where to boot (I do not remember exactly).
Once all this steps are done you can continue with the normal process of installing Windows 7 on your computer.
I hope that this will be useful for some of you, as it took me a few hours until I got it right.
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