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P70 + HDD/NVMe: Win10 install-from-scratch experience

2016-01-15, 14:36 PM

Start of the next project, which is to install retail Win10 from scratch as a second bootable OS onto a 512GB Samsung 950 Pro NVMe M.2 SSD.  All software drivers and other products available for Win10 and the P70 from the Lenovo P70 download site have been retrieved, and are ready for installation once the base Win10 install completes.

 

The P70 system already has a successfully operational Win7 environment, having cloned the Lenovo-provided Win7 delivered on a 500GB HDD onto a self-installed 950 Pro and changed the BIOS boot sequence to boot from the SSD.  HDD spinner reverted to a "data" drive.

 

I currently have several partitions on the NVMe (which is formatted and partitioned as GPT), including SYSTEM_DRV, 128MB GPT placeholder, Windows C, and additional GPT partitions E and G.  I have 125GB remaining unallocated for the installation of Win10.  My plan was to utilize about 77GB of this space for the Win10 partition, leaving the remaining 48GB for Samsung Magician use as "over provisioning".

 

That's the background.

 

So, step 1: boot from the Win10 installation DVD, and move through the basic early screens selecting "Custom" install.

 

I then got to the page where I pick the target space for the install, and I clicked on that 125GB of unallocated space on the NVMe SSD.  Note that the installer obviously saw the NVMe device and had no problem recognizing it and the pre-existing partition labels, and presented all of the pre-existing partitions as well as the unallocated space at the end.

 

Unfortunately, the Win10 installer would not accept my choice of that unallocated space for the install target.

 

So, unexpectedly, I was unable to choose that 125GB of unallocated space as the target.  The Win10 installer would not let me select it, producing the error message: "Windows cannot be installed to this disk.  The disk is of the GPT partition style". 

 

==> What???  For some unknown reason, Win10 cannot be installed to available unallocated space on a GPT disk????  Makes no sense to me.

 

UEFI BIOS, and both HDD and NVMe are partitioned as GPT.  Pre-existing Win7 currently installed on a GPT partition as the first bootable OS.  Win10 is now to be installed in a second GPT partition as the second bootable OS, presumably adding it to the Boot Manager menu.

 

Does anybody know why this happened and what I'm supposed to do to get around it?  Quite unexpected, I must admit.  How can Win7 not be installable on a GPT drive???

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  • Message 2 of 19

Re: P70 + HDD/NVMe: Win10 install-from-scratch experience

2016-01-15, 23:14 PM

Doing some research on this today, searching on "how to install win10 to gpt".

 

It appears that my problem is most likely caused by booting from an installation DVD media.  It appears from this answer on the MS answers site that in order to install to a GPT partition the boot media must itself be UEFI/GPT, and the DVD is not.

 

So the recommended solution is to copy the installation DVD to a USB drive which is 4GB or larger, using DISKPART to first format the USB drive as a large FAT32 partition.  I assume this will force GPT partitioning, and should then permit installing Win10 to my unallocated space on the GPT-formatted NVMe target drive.

 

I will try this later today.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

the best way is to create a uefi usb, then set UEFI in bios, After boot from usb to setup, My opinion this should not be used for a home user. Experience tells me that.

 

For the UEFI system, we can use these steps to create the bootable USB:
1.Locate a 4GB or larger USB flash drive
2.Open Diskpart and run the following command •List disk
•Identify the disk # of the flash drive
•Sel disk X where X is the USB drive(make sure to choose correct one)
•Clean
•Create part primary
•Assign
•Active
•Format FS=FAT32 quick Note: It must be FAT32
•Exit

3.Copy the entire contents of your Windows 10 Technical Preview for Enterprise X64 DVD to the USB drive

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Burn the ISO to a DVD or USB with the USB/DVD download tool: (link)
With the Windows tool it formats the USB to NTFS, so if you are going to do a GPT install do not use the tool. For the UEFI to see your USB for a GPT install it needs to be formatted to FAT32.

How to make a bootable Windows 8 USB Installer with CMD:

  1. Open and run CMD as Administrator
  2. Type Diskpart, press Enter
  3. Type List Disk, press Enter
  4. Type Select Disk # (where # is the number your USB drive shows up as), press Enter
  5. Type Clean, press Enter
  6. Type Create Partition Primary, press Enter
  7. Type Active, press Enter
  8. Type Format Quick FS=FAT32, press Enter
  9. Type Assign, press Enter
  10. Type Exit, press Enter
  11. Copy everything from the Windows 8/8.1 installation DVD onto the USB key (a simple drag and drop will do; if you have an .iso extract or mount first).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Re: P70 + HDD/NVMe: Win10 install-from-scratch experience

2016-01-16, 7:04 AM

Ok. Forget about that DISKPART recipe for producing a usable bootable USB Win10 install media, suitable for use when wanting to install Win10 to target space on a drive (HDD or SSD) which has been partitioned using GPT.  Unless it actually works if you are running from within a UEFI-based Windows, the results I got were a bootable USB drive that was formatted with MBR, not GPT.

 

Turns out that yes, the bootable USB install meda itself must be properly formatted and partitioned for UEFI/GPT in order to be able to select a target space on a GPT drive to install Windows.  But no, the DISKPART and "active" recipe is for MBR, not for GPT.  I didn't realize this until I tried to use the USB drive formatted using the above approach, and ran into exactly the same "Windows cannot be installed to GPT" problem as I'd had when trying to use the Win10 installation DVD.

 

 

But the real solution is very very easy: just USE RUFUS TO CREATE A BOOTABLE USB FORMATTED FOR UEFI/GPT!!!  It's the right tool for the job, and produces exactly what is required in order to have bootable USB Win10 install media which supports installing to unallocated space on a a GPT target drive.

 

Using Rufus is very easy, as all you have to do is point to the ISO for the "multiple versions" Win10 install, select "GPT partition scheme for UEFI" as the partition scheme and target system type, and the rest pretty much fills itself with appropriate default values.  Push START, and it's cooking.  5 minutes later it's done.  If you have a USB 3.0 drive instead of USB 2.0, it's even faster.

 

And now, sure enough, booting to this Rufus-created bootable USB drive I was finally able to point to the unallocated space I'd reserved on the 950 Pro for this second Windows 10 partition.  And the Win10 install itself went from start to finish without any issues at all.  Complete success.  Win10 was added as another bootable OS on the EFI Boot Manager menu, along with Win7 (and Macrium Reflect Recovery).

 

Now to learn, customize, and flesh out with my software product installs.

 

Notes, so far:

 

(1) I didn't know how to specify a smaller partition size (76GB) than the available unallocated space (125GB), so as to still keep about 48GB unallocated for Samsung over-provisioning.  So my trick was simply to allocate a 48GB partition at the end of the drive (which I planned to delete later, to give the space back to over-provisioning).  That let the Win10 install use the remaining 76GB.

 

And once the Win10 install completed and I was booted back to Win7 I ran Partition Wizard to delete that unwanted 48GB partition at the end of the drive, reactivated over-provisioning with Samsung Magician, and I was good to go again... with Win10 now initially installed.

 

(2) Although I do intend to go with "discrete graphics" in the BIOS, using only the M3000M for both Win7 and Win10, prior to the Win10 install I did enter the BIOS to reset Config -> Display to be "hybrid graphics".  I wanted the Win10 installed system to see both Intel and nVidia so that I could install the Lenovo-provided Optimus driver.  I will eventually revert back to nVidia-only.

 

 

So, no further problems once learning that the Windows boot media must itself be created with UEFI/GPT in mind, in order to install Win10 (and probably Win7 as well) as a first or second OS to space on a GPT drive intended for use with UEFI.  I'll bet that's how the Lenovo people built the delivered HDD-based Win7 system with the drive formatted as GPT, also using Win7 installation boot media on a bootable USB drive that had been created for UEFI/GPT just like I did.

 

Now to figure out what Win10 is all about.

 

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Re: P70 + HDD/NVMe: Win10 install-from-scratch experience

2016-01-16, 15:51 PM

Hi,

 

Trying to get my head around this...

 

I've always made my 7, 8.x and 10 UEFI/GPT install media by hand.  DISKPART to create a single FAT32 partition on flash  NOT SET ACTIVE.  Then 7zip to extract the ISO contents to the flash.   That's all it's ever taken to make functioning media.  It is necessary to relocate a file on the '7 media and enable CSM support in BIOS to get '7 to install and boot past the dancing balloons.

 

Are you saying that RUFUS was required to allow the installer to select unallocated space for the install?  Not sure I've tried that.

 

Regards (and thanks for all the hard work),

Z.


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Re: P70 + HDD/NVMe: Win10 install-from-scratch experience

2016-01-16, 16:20 PM

I followed the DISKPART-based "recipe" as I posted earlier, running this on a non-UEFI Win7 machine with no GPT partitions. This included setting "active", which is an MBR-related notion.  The result was a bootable USB drive (which I believe was partitioned MBR FAT32, not GPT FAT32) that booted perfectly on the P70 with its UEFI BIOS (and already installed first OS Win7, and a HDD and NVMe both formatted as GPT), and started the Win10 install without a problem.

 

However when it came time to select the target drive location for the install (which was the 76GB of unallocated on my NVMe (which was formatted as GPT), the Win10 installer refused to accept that location.  The error details were what I described, namely that "Windows cannot be installed to a GPT partition".

 

That is of course not true in general, but in order to install to a drive that is formatted GPT the boot media itself must also be UEFI/GPT... at least that's what research on the Interweb shows as everybody else's solution to the same problem in their own attempts to do similar (or even to install Win10 as a first OS on an "all empty" drive which was formatted using GPT).

 

Now the Interweb shows that there are other ways to build a bootable UEFI/GPT USB drive (which is what appears to be what you need to boot from in order for the installer to be able to accept a GPT Win10 target on a UEFI machine).  But Rufus is a fast and easy-to-use simple utility to accomplish it no matter what machine/OS environment you run Rufus on.  You simply specify that you want the USB to be built as produced for a UEFI/GPT environment, and VOILA!  It gets done.

 

That was my experience.

 

One more note... I made NO BIOS CHANGES AT ALL in order to get Win10 installed.  Whatever Lenovo had set in the BIOS for their factory Win7 install in the UEFI/GPT environment (the delivered HDD was partitioned with GPT) was fully compatible with my objective of now installing Win10 as a second OS on a second GPT partition of the NVMe.  So whatever the BIOS boot settings (I will post them later today) it appears that the UEFI BIOS as provided is fully compatible with a dual-boot to either Win7 (GPT) or now Win10 (GPT), on the same P70.

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  • Message 6 of 19

Re: P70 + HDD/NVMe: Win10 install-from-scratch experience

2016-01-16, 16:53 PM

wrote:

...

That is of course not true in general, but in order to install to a drive that is formatted GPT the boot media itself must also be UEFI/GPT... at least that's what research on the Interweb shows as everybody else's solution to the same problem in their own attempts to do similar (or even to install Win10 as a first OS on an "all empty" drive which was formatted using GPT).

...

This has not been my experience.  I've always installed from MBR-partitioned flash drives  AFAIK.

 

This may (or may not) explain what you and I have seen:  I had thought (perhaps incorrectly) that to install Windows (any) in legacy/MBR mode it was necessary to use an NTFS-formatted flash drive.  That's the way I've always done it.

 

Recently on a T450s I inadvertently left the partition active on a FAT32 flash drive I created for a Windows UEFI install.  The machine booted fine and installed Windows.  I then realized it had done a legacy/MBR install.  Oops!

 

I turned off the active flag and tried again.  It booted in UEFI mode and did a GPT install.

 

My take on this is that unless forced to boot in UEFI only mode modern UEFI BIOS will see the active flag and boot in legacy mode - which allows only MBR partitioning.

 

Does this jive with what you've seen?

 

Z.


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Re: P70 + HDD/NVMe: Win10 install-from-scratch experience

2016-01-17, 1:29 AM

wrote:

This has not been my experience.  I've always installed from MBR-partitioned flash drives  AFAIK.

 

This may (or may not) explain what you and I have seen:  I had thought (perhaps incorrectly) that to install Windows (any) in legacy/MBR mode it was necessary to use an NTFS-formatted flash drive.  That's the way I've always done it.

 

Recently on a T450s I inadvertently left the partition active on a FAT32 flash drive I created for a Windows UEFI install.  The machine booted fine and installed Windows.  I then realized it had done a legacy/MBR install.  Oops!

 

I turned off the active flag and tried again.  It booted in UEFI mode and did a GPT install.

 

My take on this is that unless forced to boot in UEFI only mode modern UEFI BIOS will see the active flag and boot in legacy mode - which allows only MBR partitioning.



Well, as I confessed at the start, before this new P70 project I had zero prior experience with installing or using Win10.  I also had never worked with UEFI BIOS machines, or GPT partitioning.  I'm a Win7 lover and have only worked with legacy BIOS and MBR partitioning, so this new world is all one large learning project for me.

 

Now, with the very interesting story you told above about your very different results when you used the DISKPART recipe I had quoted earlier to format the bootable USB installation media and either did or did not set the "active" flag, I decided to try this for myself.  As you can see from my two quoted recipes both specified the setting of the "active" flag, so that's what I had done originally.  And as I described, my results were to have the Windows installer not accept the target space on the GPT drive. And that's why I ultimately used Rufus, which solved my problem.

 

Ok, I just duplicated your story.  I used the DISKPART approach to partitioning and formatting the USB dirve, but did NOT set the "active" flag.  So it was an MBR-partitioned USB drive formatted as FAT32, but without the "active" flag set.

 

And... just like in your story, sure enough I WAS ABLE TO SUCCESSFULLY POINT TO UNALLOCATED SPACE ON THE GPT DRIVE AND HAVE THE WIN10 INSTALLER ACCEPT IT!!!  Not only that, but it was very interesting that the screen resolution of the install dialog was 1920x1080.

 

I then went back and set the "active" flag on the partition, and then used it again to try and install Win10.  Well, again just like in your story, I WAS NOT ABLE TO POINT TO SPACE ON THE GPT DRIVE!!  It was rejected.  And not only that, but the screen resolution of the install dialog appeared to be 800x600 (I think).

 

So, you are absolutely correct.  When using DISKPART to create an MBR-partitioned bootable USB install media and FORMAT FS=FAT32 (since NTFS is not supported by the installer when doing a UEFI/GPT install), it is the absence or presence of the "active" flag which apparently instructs the Windows installer whether or not the installation target space can or cannot be on a GPT drive.

 

I had no idea before now that this was the story.  Your experience and story was therefore most informative.

 

Now, it turns out Rufus is also a very easy-to-use alternative, as it can read the ISO directly, rather than having to expand it somewhere (e.g. on hard drive, or on "virtual drive" with MOUNT) and then COPY all the files to the target USB partition.  And Rufus can be instructed to partition the USB drive as GPT (which does not have an "active" flag concept), which is apparently an alternative way to tell the Windows installer you want to be able to install to target space on a GPT drive.

 

So, two different approaches, and they both work. But your story and the new information it provided is very worthwhile. DISKPART and MBR-partitioned USB can be used for an install to GPT, but the "active" flag on the USB FAT32 partition  MUST NOT BE ON.

 

NOTE: NTFS and FAT32 are "file systems".  MBR and GPT are "partitioning systems". For a legacy Windows install to MBR target, the bootable USB install media can be NTFS as you say.  But for UEFI/GPT installs apparently the USB install media MUST BE FAT32.

 

Fascinating.

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  • Message 8 of 19

Re: P70 + HDD/NVMe: Win10 install-from-scratch experience

2016-01-17, 2:18 AM

Thanks for the positive feedback and taking the time to check it out :)

 

I'm not trying to discourage you or anyone reading this from using RUFUS.  I've never used it but run across mention of it frequently.

 

I will say  that some users apparently pick the wrong formatting/partitioning options (and active flag) and end up not being able to use the created media for a UEFI install (or v/v they can't do a legacy install) and get frustrated. Perhaps that was with an older verision that didn't offer the appropriate option(s) for a UEFI/GPT installer.

 

One more small thing: 7zip will extract a ISO contents directly to most any taget.  It can be pointed at a flash drive and doesn't require expanding the ISO prior to the copy.  It's an incredibly handy FREE utility.

 

By all means if RUFUS floats your boat (and simplifies this for others) use it :)  I'm so used to "rolling my own" that I automatically reach for DISKPART  + 7zip (when in a Windows enviroment) and haven't looked for alternatives.

 

Again, thanks for all the effort.  Hopefully this will help others ... and that's what we're here for ;)

 

[edit] " it is the absence or presence of the "active" flag which apparently instructs the Windows installer whether or not the installation target space can or cannot be on a GPT drive."  The active flag determines whether the machine boots in UEFI or legacy mode.  That then controls whether GPT partition support is available.

 

This probably happens when the boot mode is UEFI + legacy, with legacy first if the boot media is FAT32 with files in place that support either boot mode.

 

See you around the boards,

Z.


The large print: please read the Community Participation Rules before posting. Include as much information as possible: model, machine type, operating system, and a descriptive subject line. Do not include personal information: serial number, telephone number, email address, etc.


The fine print: I do not work for, nor do I speak for Lenovo. Unsolicited private messages will be ignored - questions and answers belong in the forum so that others may contribute and benefit. ... GeezBlog

 

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Re: P70 + HDD/NVMe: Win10 install-from-scratch experience

2016-01-17, 6:55 AM

In my early experiences playing and learning about Win10 on my P70, I've run into a problem with Win10 scaling that results in font presenation which was previously crystal clear in WinXP/7/8.1 to now be "blurry", as the Interweb describes this issue.  Very unacceptable, to me anyway, on my 1920x1080 FHD screen.

 

Researching what is actually causing this and how to correct it brought me to this solution, which is a little utility program that once you install it runs at each Windows boot and resets Win10's scaling to instead behave the same way it used to be done in Win8.1. I had to do nothing manual myself, other than to run the program.

 

LIke magic!!!  FIXED!!!

 

All of the programs (and especially things like Explorer trees in the left pane of programs which support navigation, e.g. Free Commander XE) now present themselves in the same crystal clear way they always have in the past.  No more "blurry" fonts.

 

Highly highly recommended.

 

 

And one more thing... I really don't like the native Win10 Start button functionality along with all those tiles and unfamiliar organization.  I just want a classic desktop, so that I can get to things I use the same way I always have.

 

I had previously been using StarDock's Start8 on the few Win8.1 machines I had worked on to successfully address this same issue in the past.  And I was pleased to discover that they also had a Start10 version as well, for Win10 right now.

 

So $5 later and I once again have my old Win7 Start Menu functionality back again in Win10.  Can't live without it.

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  • Message 10 of 19

Re: P70 + HDD/NVMe: Win10 install-from-scratch experience

2016-01-17, 18:57 PM

For Windows 10 uefi install it's actually much easier than it's ever been, no need to do anything by hand at all. Look for the Windows 10 media creation tool, it will create uefi bootable media for you. The media is smart enough to install pro / home based on either a key you give it or the key it reads from uefi/bios. 

 

On the P70 I just boot from this tumb drive and it will install uefi by default. it read the key from uefi and installed 10 Pro and activated itself. The one thing that was an unusual hassle was drivers, this is the first system I've installed Win 10 on that didn't have network adapters working after install, I've installed dozens.

 

The same thumb drive will install to legacy bios system, even install Home version if it detects Home key or you input Home version key. 

 

The newest version of Media Creation Tool also accepts keys from 7, 8, 8.1, it's really easy now.

 

 

For text clarity I just run the cleartype wizard each time I'm looking at a new display.

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