Dealing with GPT, Windows 8 and installing Windows 7

Background:
The company where I work is a small one, where I handle most of the telephone and IT setups and whatever hiccups we may have, and installing new userbases whenever that is an issue.
My boss bought a new Medion computer for a new employee starting in a few days, and I noticed it was pre-installed with Windows 8. In itself that isnt an issue, but I discovered quickly our main outlook/CRM system didn’t work with windows 8, and support told me it would be a long while before an update that supports windows 8 comes out. (This is a CRM system with 230.000 users…go figure)

I thought, okay - no big deal, I just install windows 7 on top of it. And thats where the issue lies!

Apparently, Windows 8 uses a GPT filesystem instead of NTFS and this is NOT compatible with windows 7.

Solutions tried:
Installing directly on top - doesnt work, the GPT Filesystem prevents this.

Next I tried to format the drive with a bootdisk from Gpart (http://gparted.sourceforge.net/) which is apparently a popular solution. It demands that you delete the partition, make a new one and make it NTSF.
NOTE: I also changed the BIOS settings to enable CMS I think it was called, which had something called Legacy systems enabled - otherwise it wouldn’t even SEE the windows 7 boot disc.
Unfortunately, that didn’t work either, as windows 7 installation disc STILL claims the filesystem is GPT.

Current situation
So, now I have formatted the disc, so there is no OS on the computer, and there are 4 other partitions for some weird reason on the computer. A primary, a system, a backup and a restore…

I’m thinking perhaps I should have removed ALL partitions on the computer and this is why it claims the filesystem is still GPT? That is pretty much all I have left to work with.

Can anyone tell me what I’ve done wrong, or have any ideas?

Thanks in advance!

Wow, I got nothin’

I have a laptop that came formatted as Windows 8 as well here, and I was tempted to put Windows 7 on it due to the frustrations of trying to do things like lock down the store (did you know if you as an adminmistrator remove Modern apps such as games or whatever crap comes with the laptop, when the user logs in THEY ARE STILL THERE - there seems to be no way to completely remove an app! Also, users have the full ability to install software via the app store even if they aren’t administrators).

I haven’t tried it yet, but now I’m concerned about this GPT file format, which I’ve never heard of before. What are the benefits (if any) of GPT over NTFS, I wonder?

The solution of just wiping the system is exactly what I would have done, so I’m not sure where to go from there. Definately try to delete all the partitions and then go with a full (not quick) format if you haven’t already. Let us know if you find anything more out about it.

GPT is not a “file system”. It’s the way which the file system is addressed, a replacement for MBR.

You will need to totally wipe it (including the partition structure), in another PC to fix this. Look here for instructions - http://www.partition-tool.com/resource/GPT-disk-partition-manager/convert-gpt-disk-to-mbr-disk.htm

Do remember that there is a maximum partition size of 2TB for MBR partitions.

Thanks! The problem is, that now I have no OS on the computer…But hopefully as you say, the Gpart program I have can fix it by wiping all the partitions then as you say!

I’ll try this tomorrow at work

This is odd. Starlight’s link seems to indicate GPT should be supported by Windows 7. Maybe GPT isn’t your culprit after all?

yeah, I saw that - it isnt…at least not my windows 7 installer disc then. I don’t know if later models are changed?

It sounds from my brief looking around that Windows 7 discs should all support GPT installation, not just newer ones. You might be running into something the manufacture has put in place, or possibly a BIOS setting. I don’t know much about Medion hardware though, having only heard about it in your OP.

It does seem a little weird, since I’ve installed Windows 7 onto a 3TB hard drive, which has to be GPT since it’s more than 2.25TB. You have to run diskpart from within the Windows setup program, and perform the actual install onto a unpartitioned drive after creating the GPT volume. Let Setup handle the partitioning.

Ah yes, I didn’t consider that Win7 should support it ><

It’s possible that an OEM Windows disk would be having problems, try using one of the Digital River Windows ISO’s.

A small update on this - I actually succeded now. I read somewhere that a GPT partition could be “protected” and thus had to be cleaned through the beforementioned Diskpart program.
I did this through the “Repair” function of the windows 7 installer which can open up a dosbox prompt and once I did a “clean Disk 1” I was able to “convert MBR” through Diskpark, and voila - Suddenly everything worked.

Its amazing how simple things are, once you know how to do them ;-)

Anyways -thanks for all the quick help and suggestions, guys!