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How to Fix the “Windows Cannot Be Installed to This Disk” Error

If you can’t seem to install Windows to a disk, don’t panic. Here’s how to fix it.

There are many reasons as to why Windows can’t be installed on a disk, but it’s not immediately obvious as to what those reasons are. Fortunately, there is a range of different fixes you can try to get Windows installed onto your disk.

Let’s explore how to fix the “Windows Cannot Be Installed to This Disk” error and the different forms that it can take.

Why Does the “Windows Cannot Be Installed to This Disk” Error Appear?

There are several iterations of the “Windows cannot be installed to this disk” error. Identifying which iteration you are getting goes a long way to figuring out what you need to do to get Windows installed.

The error occurs when your hard drive partition style doesn’t support your BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) version. BIOS has two versions: Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) and Legacy BIOS.

As you can likely tell by the names, UEFI is more modern while Legacy BIOS is pretty old. Each of these versions only works with a certain hard drive partition style. When there’s a mismatch, you get the “Windows cannot be installed to this disk” error.

What Partition Style Will Work for You?

To figure out what you need to do to fix this error, you need to take a look at what the second sentence of the error message reads.

If the second sentence in your error message reads “The selected disk is of the GPT partition style,” it means your PC has a Legacy BIOS. BIOS doesn’t work with the GPT partition style, so you’ll need to convert to MBR.

If the second sentence in your error message reads “The selected disk has an MBR partition table. On EFI systems, Windows can only be installed to GPT disks,” it means your PC has a UEFI BIOS. You can install Windows only to GPT partition style disks on an EFI system.

How to Fix the “Selected Disk Is of the GPT Partition Style” Error

If your PC uses Legacy BIOS, you can’t install Windows on a GPT partition disk. In this case, you’ll need to convert the drive before you can install Windows.

Check Your BIOS Version to Confirm UEFI Isn’t Available

Before you do that, double-check to see if your PC supports UEFI. You can check your BIOS version by going into the BIOS when your PC boots. Start your PC, and press the BIOS key. The BIOS key may differ among manufacturers, but the most commonly used keys are F1, F2, F10, F12, or DEL.

When you’re in BIOS, you’ll need to look for the Boot mode. Again, there is no one step-by-step process here. You will need to look through all tabs, but generally, there’s a Boot tab, and this is where you’ll find Boot mode.

If your boot mode is set to Legacy and UEFI doesn’t appear as an option, you can’t use your GPT disk partition. At this point, you’ll need to convert it to an MBR partition table.

Convert an MBR Disk to GPT

There are two methods to convert a GPT disk partition to MBR. Unfortunately, both methods wipe the data stored on the disk. Alternatively, you could use third-party software to convert your GPT partition disk to MBR without losing data.

1. Convert From MBR Disk to GPT Using Command Prompt

You can use the command prompt if you don’t have any other operating systems installed on another hard drive. Note that this method will erase all the data stored on the drive you’re about to convert.

Related: How to Use DiskPart to Clean and Format a Drive on Windows 10

  1. Start by inserting Windows Installation Disk and wait for the Windows Setup screen. Press Shift + F10 to open the command prompt.
  2. Type diskpart and press Enter.
  3. Type list disk to fetch a list of drives on your computer.
  4. Choose the disk you want to convert to MBR. This should be the disk on which you want to install Windows. You can choose the disk with select disk 0.
  5. Run clean then convert mbr to convert the partition to MBR.

CMD diskpart utility

When you’re done, exit the command prompt. Return to the Windows installation and run the install again.

2. Convert From MBR Disk to GPT Using the Disk Management Utility

If your system already has another copy of Windows on a different drive, you can use the Disk Management Utility on that copy to convert a GTP partition disk to MBR.

  1. Type Disk Management in the search bar beside the Start Menu. The first item in the search results will be Create and Format Hard Disk Partitions. Press Enter to open the Disk Management Utility.
  2. Find the disk you’re trying to convert from the list displayed in the utility. Right-click on it and select Delete volume.
  3. Next, right-click on the same disk and select Convert to MBR disk.

Disk utility Windows

How to Fix the “Selected Disk Has an MBR Partition Table” Error

If your PC has a UEFI BIOS, you’ll need a GPT partition disk to install Windows. If you have an MBR partition, you’ll need to convert it to a GPT partition disk.

1. Try to Disable EFI Boot Sources

If you don’t want to convert the partition, go to the BIOS and see if it allows you to disable EFI boot sources. When you’re in the BIOS, navigate to the Boot Order section and search for EFI boot sources. Disable it and run Windows installation. Once the installation completes, re-enable EFI boot sources.

If the option to disable EFI sources isn’t available, you’ll need to convert the partition.

2. Convert From MBR to GPT Using the Command Prompt

The method we used to convert the GPT partition to MBR also works here. The only thing that will change is the command in step 5. Instead of convert mbr, type convert gpt instead.

When you’re done with the previous steps, exit the command prompt and continue with the installation.

3. Convert From MBR to GPT Using a Windows Installation Disk

During the installation process, you’ll be asked to select a disk on which you want to install Windows. Select the disk you want to install Windows to and click on Delete.

Next, choose the same disk and click on New and create a partition in GPT style. Click Next and continue with the installation. This should fix the error and you’ll be able to move forward with the installation.

Disk Partition Error Solved

Hopefully, this solved your “Windows cannot be installed to this disk” error. There are various other issues you may encounter during the Windows installation process. However, they are almost always an easy fix.

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