Fix: Windows cannot be Installed to this Disk

This particular error appears to users who try to freshly install Windows on their respective computers. The error is quite annoying in nature, especially because of the fact that it won’t allow you to install Windows without explaining the nature of the problem. The full error message is:

“Windows cannot be installed to this disk. the selected disk has an MBR partition table. On EFI system, Windows can only be installed to GPT disks.”

The error message after running Windows setup

There have been many different ways to resolve this problem and we will represent the methods which have helped users the most!

What Prevents Windows from Being Installed on the Selected Disk?

This error is tightly related to how you manager and format your partitions and the major causes are pretty much similar in nature. Here is a short list of the most common reasons:

  • Your drive is misconfigured to use a different file format and you might need to delete all of its partitions in order to get rid of this problem.
  • Your boot order may not be set up properly for the EFI boot and you might want to change along with disabling a certain option in BIOS.
  • Your disk might be in need of cleaning before you can actually convert it into GPT and get rid of this problem.

Solution 1: Delete Your Partitions

If the partitions on your hard drive have been misconfigured to use the MBR partition table, the best thing you can do about this is to simply delete your partitions. This method is recommended only for users who are ready to lose any data on their drive. For example, if you are performing a fresh install without any personal files, check this out!

  1. Insert the installation media and boot the computer. Setup the language, time and date settings, etc.
  2. If you’ve never installed Windows 10 on this computer before, you’ll see the Windows activation screen. Enter your Windows 10 key here. If you don’t have one, but you have a valid 7, 8, or 8.1 key, enter it here instead. You can also skip this part and enter the key after the installation is complete.
Windows Setup Activation Screen
  1. Go through the setup process normally until you see the “Which type of installation do you want?” screen. Select the “Custom” option to ensure you’re performing a clean install and not an upgrade install which is a completely different thing.
  2. You will now see the “Where do you want to install Windows?” screen with the partitions you have active. Choose each one with current OS’ system files on it and click on Delete. Choose the one where you want to install Windows and follow through with the process. The error shouldn’t appear further.

Solution 2: Change Boot Order to DVD

This method has also helped plenty of users and its advantage is the fact that you won’t need to delete anything. However, you will have to edit certain BIOS settings in order to order the boot manager to check for DVD first before anything else!

  1. Turn on your computer and immediately press the BIOS Setup key on your keyboard several times in a row, about once every second, until the Computer Setup Utility or BIOS settings opens. This key will be indicated on your screen as Press _ to run Setup.
    Entering BIOS
  2. Use the right arrow key to switch to the Security menu when the BIOS settings window opens, use the down arrow key to select the Secure Boot Configuration from the menu, and press Enter. These options are sometimes location under System Configuration or the Security tab
Secure Boot configuration
  1. Before you can use this option, a warning will appear. Press F10 to continue to the Secure Boot Configuration menu. Use the down arrow key to select Secure Boot and use the right arrow key to modify this setting to Disable.
  2. Use the down arrow key to select Legacy Support, and then use the right arrow key to switch it to Enable.
Enabling Legacy Support
  1. Under the Legacy Boot Order settings, select your USB CD/DVD ROM Drive option and use proper keys (explained at the bottom of the screen to add this option to the top of the boot order to ensure you boot from the USB or DVD. If the option is available, make sure to disable EFI/UEFI Boot Sources.
DIsabling EFI Boot Sources
  1. Press F10 to save the changes. Use the left arrow key to navigate to the File menu, use the down arrow key to switch to Save Changes and Exit, then press Enter to select Yes.
  2. The Computer Setup Utility will now shut down and the computer should restart. When the computer has restarted, try installing the Windows setup again to see if the problem still appears.

Solution 3: Clean the Disk and Convert it to GPT

If the methods above have failed, you can always use Command Prompt and DISKPART to clean the drive entirely and convert it to GPT easily. Note that this process will also wipe the drive clean so make sure everything is backed up.

  1. If your computer’s system is down, you will have to use the installation media used to install windows for this process. Insert the installation drive you own or which you have just created and boot your computer.
  2. You will see a Choose your keyboard layout window so choose the one you want to use. The Choose an option screen will appear so navigate to Troubleshoot >> Advanced Options >> Command Prompt.
Command Prompt in Advanced options
  1. At this command prompt window, type in simply “diskpart” in a new line and click the Enter key in order to run this command.
  2. This will change the Command Prompt window to enable you to run various Diskpart commands. The first one you will run is the one which will enable you to see the complete list of all available volumes. Type this in and make sure you click Enter afterward:
  1. Make sure you choose your DVD drive carefully, depending on which number is assigned to it in the list of volumes. Let’s say that its number is 1. Now run the following command in order to select your USB drive:
DISKPART> select volume 1
  1. A message should appear saying something like “Volume 1 is the selected volume”.

Note: If you are unsure about which drive number belongs to your USB device, the easiest way to do so is to check its size at the right pane. Additionally, it’s the same number which appears in the “Where do you want to install Windows?” window where the error originally occurs.

  1. In order to clean this volume, all you need to do is to type in the command displayed below, click the Enter key afterward, and stay patient for the process to complete. The process should now be successful for a change. The set of commands will also convert the disk to GPT and hopefully resolve the problem.
Convert GPT 

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

Expert Tip

Fix: Windows cannot be Installed to this Disk

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