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Legacy or uefi Win7 Virtual Machine

2016-08-04, 2:31 AM

Hi all!

What are the practical differences between the two BIOS modes (Legacy VS UEFI and their accompanying MBR vs GPT)? 

Which is better for Win 7 Pro especially with XP mode run through a Virtual Machine?

 

Thank you!

-----------IBM T40: XP PRO SP3, 14.1" 4:3 display, 512MB DDR RAM, 40GB HDD, ThinkLight, DVD.
Lenovo Ideacentre H215: AMD Athlon II X2 215, 500GB HDD, 4GB DDR3 RAM, 64-bit Win7, AMD 760G.
P50 i7, M2000M, 1x16GB RAM, 1080p, 512GB SSD, 500GB HDD, Backlight, 7Pro.
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  • Message 2 of 17

Re: Legacy or uefi Win7 Virtual Machine

2016-10-07, 22:13 PM

Bump, anyone?

Thanks!

-----------IBM T40: XP PRO SP3, 14.1" 4:3 display, 512MB DDR RAM, 40GB HDD, ThinkLight, DVD.
Lenovo Ideacentre H215: AMD Athlon II X2 215, 500GB HDD, 4GB DDR3 RAM, 64-bit Win7, AMD 760G.
P50 i7, M2000M, 1x16GB RAM, 1080p, 512GB SSD, 500GB HDD, Backlight, 7Pro.
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  • Message 3 of 17

Re: Legacy or uefi Win7 Virtual Machine

2016-10-08, 1:02 AM

MBR vs. GPT has nothing specifically to do with BIOS per se.  These notions refer to how a drive is partitioned, and consequences regarding how many partitions can be created as well as maximum drive capacity.  Otherwise, there's no performance difference.  It's actually the operating system where the support for MBR or GPT is persent or not.  Older operating systems all support MBR.  GPT can be supported for "data" partitions only in older Windows versions, or can also be supported for the Windows system partition in newer Windows,

 

MBR is older, and is used without consequence for drives of 2TB or less.  GPT can also be used for drives of 2TB or less, but MUST be used if you have a drive larger than 2TB. Also, the maximum partition size using MBR is 2TB, whereas there's no maximum partition size using GPT.

 

The partitioning provided through MBR involves a maximum of four "primary" partitions on the drive.  If you want to have more than four partitions on an MBR-partitioned drive you can re-purpose one of those four primary partitions for use as an "extended partition", inside of which can be allocated effectively any number of "logical" partitions. So you can have up to three (i.e. 0-3) "primary" partitions and then any number of "logical partitions" inside of the one "extended primary" partition.

 

GPT partitioning doesn't have a maximum number of partitions, nor does it have a notion of "primary" or "extended/logical".  They're all just GPT partitions.

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  • Message 4 of 17

Re: Legacy or uefi Win7 Virtual Machine

2016-10-08, 19:08 PM

So, for now, either would work for me, as both of my drives are roughly 500GB.

I just looked it up, and XP-32bit does NOT support GPT. Since 7Pro's XP mode is 32bit, I should expect similar results? Research that I have done seems to indicate that.

So what I need to do (to get XP mode--and 16-bit programs inside XP mode--working properly) is to have the main partition (where XP installs things) in MBR, while my second OS is in GPT?
Or maybe to remove confusion, I ought have all of them as MBR?

I do know that once I install Win10 on my second drive the bios mode will be locked as either legacy or uefi.

 

Do programs like Pratition Wizard and Macrium Reflect care what the BIOS mode/ partition type is?

-----------IBM T40: XP PRO SP3, 14.1" 4:3 display, 512MB DDR RAM, 40GB HDD, ThinkLight, DVD.
Lenovo Ideacentre H215: AMD Athlon II X2 215, 500GB HDD, 4GB DDR3 RAM, 64-bit Win7, AMD 760G.
P50 i7, M2000M, 1x16GB RAM, 1080p, 512GB SSD, 500GB HDD, Backlight, 7Pro.
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  • Message 5 of 17

Re: Legacy or uefi Win7 Virtual Machine

2016-10-08, 21:53 PM

First, products like Partition Wizard and Macrium Reflect support both MBR and GPT partitioning.   They don't care what the BIOS is, because they are programs running under Windows itself and they understand MBR and GPT inherently.  EVERY OS UNDERSTANDS MBR, including Win10.

 

Secondly, there is actually a BIOS-related concern with GPT.  Legacy BIOS doesn't understand GPT, but rather only understands MBR.  So if the drive containing your Windows boot partition (i.e. "system_reserved") is partitioned with GPT, then you must be using UEFI BIOS.  Note that running with UEFI BIOS doesn't mean you can't run Win7.  You can.

 

Third, you cannot mix-and-match MBR and GPT partitions on a single physical drive.  It is the physical drive which is partitioned using MBR or GPT technique, and ALL resulting partitions on that drive are, by definition, either GPT partitions or MBR partitions ("primary" or "logical").  You make your choice by physical drive, not by individual partition.

 

Finally, the partitioning of a drive is really only the concern of Windows, not the application programs which go through Windows to read/write to the drive and its partitions.  It is up to Windows to read the partition table on the drive and know where each partition starts and ends, and assign it a drive letter.  It is that drive letter which is all the application programs are concerned with.  MBR or GPT is completely transparent to application programs.

 

For example, my own P70 with dual-boot Win7 and Win10 has both of these Windows system partitions located on a 512GB GPT-partitioned Samsung NVMe 950 Pro drive (NVMe0), which is also where the "system_reserved" UEFI/GPT boot partition is also located, along with other GPT "data" partitions".  Both Win10 and Win7 boot properly and operate properly, with this physical drive partitioned via GPT and the BIOS UEFI.  My second 512GB NVMe 950 Pro is also partitioned with GPT and contains "data" partitions.  My third drive is a 2.5" 512GB Samsung 850 Pro SSD which is partitioned MBR and has "data" partitions.

 

 

Your degrees of freedom in choosing MBR or GPT partitioning are tied to (a) how large is your dirve, (b) how many and how large do you want your partition(s) to be, (c) will you be booting from the drive or is is strictly for "data" use, (d) what versions of Windows will you be running and does that version even support GPT, and (e) what BIOS (legacy or UEFI) is on your motherboard and thus can it even support booting from a GPT-partitioned drive.

 

Again, MBR is universally understood and supports all Windows versions for a physical drive 2TB or smaller.  In contrast GPT is a "modern" partitioning method which MUST be used to support physical drives larger than 2TB if you want to actually use that larger capacity.  Otherwise, MBR partitioning for a drive larger than 2TB will support only 2TB, so the rest of the drive will go unused (obviously not what you intended).

 

And while MBR is limited to a maximum of four "primary" partitions none of which can be larger than 2TB, you can still have more than four partitions on the drive (by allocating one or more "logical" partitions).  It is completely transparent to application programs that an MBR partition is "primary" or "logical".  In contrast, GPT is unlimited regarding number and size of partitions and there is no such thing as "primary" or "logical".

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  • Message 6 of 17

Re: Legacy or uefi Win7 Virtual Machine

2016-10-08, 22:50 PM

Thank you very much, DSperber,

 

I guess it really depends on what I get when I get my P50.  I don't see myself wiping the drive and re-installing Win7 on it just to change the partitioning format.

 

I had not realized that MBR  vs GPT was at the drive level. Thanks for clearing that up. 

It is good to know that PW and other programs see no difference between the two BIOS types.

 


wrote:

Finally, the partitioning of a drive is really only the concern of Windows, not the application programs which go through Windows to read/write to the drive and its partitions.  It is up to Windows to read the partition table on the drive and know where each partition starts and ends, and assign it a drive letter.  It is that drive letter which is all the application programs are concerned with.  MBR or GPT is completely transparent to application programs.

 

Your degrees of freedom in choosing MBR or GPT partitioning are tied to (a) how large is your dirve, (b) how many and how large do you want your partition(s) to be, (c) will you be booting from the drive or is is strictly for "data" use, (d) what versions of Windows will you be running and does that version even support GPT, and (e) what BIOS (legacy or UEFI) is on your motherboard and thus can it even support booting from a GPT-partitioned drive.

 

And while MBR is limited to a maximum of four "primary" partitions, you can still have more than four partitions on the drive (by allocating one or more "logical" partitions).  It is completely transparent to application programs that an MBR partition is "primary" or "logical".  In contrast, GPT is unlimited regarding number of partitions and there is no such thing as "primary" or "logical".


Since Win7 accepts UEFI BIOS, would 32bit XP running in a virtual machine or via XP mode in Win7 also accept it?

Similarly, if the drive is partitioned via GPT, would a 32bit Windows OS  work in a virtual machine (32bit OSs do not support GPT)?

I would hope to dual-boot Win7 Pro (DG from 10 Pro) and 10 Pro (on different drives?), and also run 32bit XP in Virtualbox. 

I ordered a 512 NVMe SSD, and a 500GB Spinner.  I don't see upgrading the drives until they are no longer under warranty.

 

What exactly do you mean by "MBR or GPT is completely transparent to application programs" and "It is completely transparent to application programs that an MBR partition is "primary" or "logical"."?  What do you mean by "transparent"?  Are you stating that the applications (even VMs) inside the main OS don't care what the partitioning sytem is (I hope)?

 

With MBR, what is the difference between "Primary" and "logical" partitions?

 

And finally (for now), how/where did you get that picture--from your BIOS, Partition Wizard, or something else?

 

Again, thank you!

-----------IBM T40: XP PRO SP3, 14.1" 4:3 display, 512MB DDR RAM, 40GB HDD, ThinkLight, DVD.
Lenovo Ideacentre H215: AMD Athlon II X2 215, 500GB HDD, 4GB DDR3 RAM, 64-bit Win7, AMD 760G.
P50 i7, M2000M, 1x16GB RAM, 1080p, 512GB SSD, 500GB HDD, Backlight, 7Pro.
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  • Message 7 of 17

Re: Legacy or uefi Win7 Virtual Machine

2016-10-08, 23:34 PM

The only version of Windows XP that supports GPT is the 64-bit version. The 32 bit version can use the GPT formated disk for data only. Applications do not about the disk format as the OS takes care of the access.

 


wrote:

Thank you very much, DSperber,

 

I guess it really depends on what I get when I get my P50.  I don't see myself wiping the drive and re-installing Win7 on it just to change the partitioning format.

 

I had not realized that MBR  vs GPT was at the drive level. Thanks for clearing that up. 

It is good to know that PW and other programs see no difference between the two BIOS types.

 


DSperber wrote:

Finally, the partitioning of a drive is really only the concern of Windows, not the application programs which go through Windows to read/write to the drive and its partitions.  It is up to Windows to read the partition table on the drive and know where each partition starts and ends, and assign it a drive letter.  It is that drive letter which is all the application programs are concerned with.  MBR or GPT is completely transparent to application programs.

 

Your degrees of freedom in choosing MBR or GPT partitioning are tied to (a) how large is your dirve, (b) how many and how large do you want your partition(s) to be, (c) will you be booting from the drive or is is strictly for "data" use, (d) what versions of Windows will you be running and does that version even support GPT, and (e) what BIOS (legacy or UEFI) is on your motherboard and thus can it even support booting from a GPT-partitioned drive.

 

And while MBR is limited to a maximum of four "primary" partitions, you can still have more than four partitions on the drive (by allocating one or more "logical" partitions).  It is completely transparent to application programs that an MBR partition is "primary" or "logical".  In contrast, GPT is unlimited regarding number of partitions and there is no such thing as "primary" or "logical".


Since Win7 accepts UEFI BIOS, would 32bit XP running in a virtual machine or via XP mode in Win7 also accept it?

Similarly, if the drive is partitioned via GPT, would a 32bit Windows OS  work in a virtual machine (32bit OSs do not support GPT)?

I would hope to dual-boot Win7 Pro (DG from 10 Pro) and 10 Pro (on different drives?), and also run 32bit XP in Virtualbox. 

I ordered a 512 NVMe SSD, and a 500GB Spinner.  I don't see upgrading the drives until they are no longer under warranty.

 

What exactly do you mean by "MBR or GPT is completely transparent to application programs" and "It is completely transparent to application programs that an MBR partition is "primary" or "logical"."?  What do you mean by "transparent"?  Are you stating that the applications (even VMs) inside the main OS don't care what the partitioning sytem is (I hope)?

 

With MBR, what is the difference between "Primary" and "logical" partitions?

 

And finally (for now), how/where did you get that picture--from your BIOS, Partition Wizard, or something else?

 

Again, thank you!


 


P53 XEON 2276 BIOS 1.28 OLED UHD 4K Multi-touch display, 96GB RAM, RTX5000, RAID 1, 1TB x 2 Samsung PM981, 1TB PM981, WWAN
P70 XEON 1505, BIOS 2.35, 4k Display, 64GB, M3000M NVIDIA GPU, RAID1 1TB Samsung PM981 PCIe-NVMe SSD x 2, 2x Samsung 850 Pro 1TB SSD. EM7455 WWAN
P1. BIOS 1.25,Xeon Processor, 4k UHD IPS multi-touch display, 32GB, PM981 1TB x 2, RAID1

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  • Message 8 of 17

Re: Legacy or uefi Win7 Virtual Machine

2016-10-09, 14:21 PM

microfishd1 wrote:

What exactly do you mean by "MBR or GPT is completely transparent to application programs" and "It is completely transparent to application programs that an MBR partition is "primary" or "logical"."?  What do you mean by "transparent"?  Are you stating that the applications (even VMs) inside the main OS don't care what the partitioning sytem is (I hope)?

 

With MBR, what is the difference between "Primary" and "logical" partitions?

 

And finally (for now), how/where did you get that picture--from your BIOS, Partition Wizard, or something else?

Sorry, I have no direct experience with VM, or running XP under Win7, or 32-bit vs. 64-bit as far as it relates to GPT. I only run native Win7 Pro (and Win10 Pro), 64-bit versions.  I have both MBR-based boot systems as well as GPT-based boot systems, including systems with both MBR drives as well as GPT drives.  It's just not really of concern to me.  There is no performance difference at all.  It's only a function of how large a drive you have and how many partitions you want to put on that drive and what those partition sizes are desired to be.

 

Yes, UEFI BIOS supports additional new features (like "secure boot") but these are irrelevant to me.  GPT, MBR, doesn't really matter, nor does the number of partitions on a drive since even with MBR you can have more than four partitions on a drive through the use of "logical" partition.  It is really the 2TB maximum size limit on drive and partitions which is the governing factor as to whether GPT is required or optional.  If 2TB is not an issue, and if your Windows version supports GPT, then MBR or GPT are equally available to choose with no advantage of one over the other.

 

By "transaparent" I mean that the applications do not know or care about the partitioning technique used.  It is of no relevance to their operation and impacts them zero, as they are simply concerned about drive letter for read/write.  This is not quite the same as, for example, the "file system" used to FORMAT the drive for actually storing data on that partition, as there actually are some technical differences in FAT32 vs. NTFS which do/could impact how an application stores files, particularly large files.  But aside from USB key drives which perhaps might be more likely to be formatted using FAT32 for a particular use (although NTFS is generally preferred if FAT32 is not required), NTFS is pretty much universally used as the file system for all partitions today.

 

My screenshot came from Partition Wizard.

 

The difference between "primary" and "logical" when using MBR is effectively zero, in that there is absolutely no functional difference between the two.  Almost anything you can do with a "primary" partition you can also do with a "logical" partition and vice versa, with just a few small differences:

 

(1) MBR supports a maximum of four "primary" partitions on a drive.  One of those "primary" partitions can be re-purposed as the "extended partition" inside of which can be allocated any number of "logical" partitions.  So in theory with MBR you can actually have a maximum of three "primary" partitions plus any number of "logical" partitions.

 

(2) The only reason "logical" partitions exist is to support a total of more than four partitions on a drive.  Otherwise, if you don't need more than four partitions they can all be "primary".  Or, alternatively, if you don't need to boot to a Windows system on the drive (i.e. you don't need one "active" primary partition containing Boot Manager) then you can even have all "data" partitions be "logical", with zero actual "primary" data partitions and just one "extended partition" inside of which are as many "logical" data partitions as you care to define.  Or, any hybrid combination of both "primary" and "logical". Again, "logical" only was created in order to support more than four total partitions using MBR because of its inherent limitation of a maximum of four "primary" partitions.

 

(3) Since Legacy BIOS does not understand "extended partition" and "logical" partitions inside, but only understands "primary" partitions through MBR partitioning, when setting up a drive to hold a bootable Windows system on an MBR drive you MUST have one "primary" partition designated as "active" (this is an actual partition flag, settable by DISKMGMT.MSC and Partition Wizard, and automatically set by the Windows installer when you do a from-scratch Windows install).  This "active" partition is THE [one and only] partition on that drive that the BIOS will seek out and go to when you boot the machine, in order to load Boot Manager (assumed to reside in that "active" partition) to begin the Windows boot process.  Typically this is the small 100MB un-lettered "system reserved" partition on the MBR drive which gets created by the Windows installer to hold Boot Manager, along with the second Windows [C] system partition itself.  It does count as one of the maximum of four "primary" partitions on the drive.  If there is no "active" partition (containing Boot Manager) on an MBR drive then you can't boot to it (i.e. it cannot be placed in the boot drive sequence list of the BIOS).  If you do try to boot to an MBR drive not containing a "primary" partition marked as "active" (and in which Boot Manager lives) the BIOS will give you an error message to the effect of "operating system not found on this drive".

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  • Message 9 of 17

Re: Legacy or uefi Win7 Virtual Machine

2016-10-09, 21:31 PM

wrote:

Since Win7 accepts UEFI BIOS, would 32bit XP running in a virtual machine or via XP mode in Win7 also accept it?

Similarly, if the drive is partitioned via GPT, would a 32bit Windows OS  work in a virtual machine (32bit OSs do not support GPT)?

I would hope to dual-boot Win7 Pro (DG from 10 Pro) and 10 Pro (on different drives?), and also run 32bit XP in Virtualbox. 

I ordered a 512 NVMe SSD, and a 500GB Spinner.  I don't see upgrading the drives until they are no longer under warranty.

 

What exactly do you mean by "MBR or GPT is completely transparent to application programs" and "It is completely transparent to application programs that an MBR partition is "primary" or "logical"."?  What do you mean by "transparent"?  Are you stating that the applications (even VMs) inside the main OS don't care what the partitioning sytem is (I hope)?

 


I'll take a stab at this too:  the whole point of virtualization is that the virtual client runs on virtual hardware - not the actual bare-metal hardware of the host machine.  (OK, VT-d steps outside that a little - but that's not germane to this discusssion...)

 

The client "sees" virtual hardware that's presented to it by the host virtualization software.  It doesn't access the actual hard drive, it accesses a software created virtual drive.

 

The client can't tell and doesn't care what the actual drive is and how it's partitioned. I can run the same XP (or Linux, Solaris, whatever) VM on my MBR and GPT laptops and desktop.

 

Z.


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  • Message 10 of 17

Re: Legacy or uefi Win7 Virtual Machine

2016-10-09, 22:24 PM

wrote:

wrote:

Since Win7 accepts UEFI BIOS, would 32bit XP running in a virtual machine or via XP mode in Win7 also accept it?

Similarly, if the drive is partitioned via GPT, would a 32bit Windows OS  work in a virtual machine (32bit OSs do not support GPT)?

I would hope to dual-boot Win7 Pro (DG from 10 Pro) and 10 Pro (on different drives?), and also run 32bit XP in Virtualbox. 

I ordered a 512 NVMe SSD, and a 500GB Spinner.  I don't see upgrading the drives until they are no longer under warranty.

 

What exactly do you mean by "MBR or GPT is completely transparent to application programs" and "It is completely transparent to application programs that an MBR partition is "primary" or "logical"."?  What do you mean by "transparent"?  Are you stating that the applications (even VMs) inside the main OS don't care what the partitioning sytem is (I hope)?

 


I'll take a stab at this too:  the whole point of virtualization is that the virtual client runs on virtual hardware - not the actual bare-metal hardware of the host machine.  (OK, VT-d steps outside that a little - but that's not germane to this discusssion...)

 

The client "sees" virtual hardware that's presented to it by the host virtualization software.  It doesn't access the actual hard drive, it accesses a software created virtual drive.

 

The client can't tell and doesn't care what the actual drive is and how it's partitioned. I can run the same XP (or Linux, Solaris, whatever) VM on my MBR and GPT laptops and desktop.

 

Z.


I have to profess my lack of experience with the Virtual Box, but I thought that the virutalized OS had to be 64-bit if it was running in a 64-bit memory space.  Also, the OP wants to run games that probably had direct access to the graphics engine and most likely did not go through DirectX. Windows 7 had an XP mode to run applications. That should still be available according to the information that I was able to gather from the MS website.


P53 XEON 2276 BIOS 1.28 OLED UHD 4K Multi-touch display, 96GB RAM, RTX5000, RAID 1, 1TB x 2 Samsung PM981, 1TB PM981, WWAN
P70 XEON 1505, BIOS 2.35, 4k Display, 64GB, M3000M NVIDIA GPU, RAID1 1TB Samsung PM981 PCIe-NVMe SSD x 2, 2x Samsung 850 Pro 1TB SSD. EM7455 WWAN
P1. BIOS 1.25,Xeon Processor, 4k UHD IPS multi-touch display, 32GB, PM981 1TB x 2, RAID1

I am not an employee nor an agent of Lenovo.
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