Is it possible to install Windows 8.1/10 on a single MBR partition (as in Windows 7) and how?
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It depends on the bios settings afaik
UEFI can only be GPT
Legacy mode (old style bios) can only be MBR
For UEFI you have to use a UEFI bootmedium
Why would you want mbr?
The simple method is to wipe the disk and let the windows installer make the partition table
I believe Windows installer creates four partitions. I can live with GPT instead of MBR, but I don't need UEFI anyway. I windows 7, I never needed to change any bios settings. Unless I am missing something here?
Afaik Windows installer creates 2 partitions, one small boot partition and a Windows partition at the users size required. This can be one or more partitions if you want
Well you can leave the bios settings to legacy, Windows should create mbr partitions the same as above
I tried again with bios settings set to legacy mode and windows installer created two partitions (one system reserved) even if I manually assigned all unallocated space to one partition. I am not sure if these partitions are MBR, but is there a way to avoid creating the system reserved one?
Nope this is correct behaviour of the windows installer on a empty disk or if you remove all partitions with windows installer.
Only way to avoid that is to manually partition the disk on a different computer/ different OS like Linux.
Make one big partition covering the whole drive, ntfs or fat (preferable ntfs)
During windows install don't let windows installer make any changes to the disk, and use the partition that you created to install windows
Actually, it can be done on the same computer during windows setup. To assign all unallocated space to a new partition and prevent the system reserved partition from being created, from within the windows installer, at the point where you are asked where you want to install windows, if you have one empty disk, press Shift+F10 to open a command prompt window, type diskpart and press enter, type select disk 0, then create partition primary and then exit. Close the command prompt, select the partition created and setup will continue and install windows on this partition.
Great, i didn't know that, but i have to admit that i haven't used Windows in a while, Linux is the go for me
Which Linux? I tried a few live distributions some time ago, as I did not want to use Windows 10, but I did not find one with no issues.
I use Linuxmint 19.3 as my daily driver, it is the most user friendly distro imho
I didn't like Windows 10 either so i made the decision to go Linux, no regrets. Although there are of course issues and a learning curve because i didn't want to go the Wine route to use my familiar windows programs
Besides that i experiment with Manjaro, it is Arch Linux based but much more user friendly and it is a rolling release which means it is constantly updated.
Linuxmint is not a rolling release and based on Ubuntu, solid but not cutting edge so to speak.
Other flavours are not my thing like fedora, suse or ubuntu itself, although it thought about centos (the redhat enterprise community version) for my server but didn't want to use 2 different systems
I fail to see what the issue with Windows reserved partition is. Itʻs just a few hundred MB at most and as noted in this article, itʻs required for Bitlocker and thereʻs no space savings as the boot files stored there must be installed on the regular Windows partition.
Edit: Had to look it up to refresh my memory, but GPT and the extra hidden partition has a significant advantage over MBR. As discussed on this article:
"MBR vs. GPT: Recovery
MBR stores all the partition and boot data in a single place. This means that if anything gets corrupted, you’ll run into a problem. If any data gets corrupted with MBR, chances are you’ll only find out when your system fails to boot. Recovery from MBR is possible, but not always successful.
The Master Boot Record can become corrupt, damaged, or simply disappear. Here are the fixes you can attempt to revive your system.
GPT is far superior in that it stores multiple copies of the boot data across several partitions, at the beginning and end of the table headers. If one partition gets corrupted, it can use the other partitions to recover.
Additionally, GPT has error-detecting code that will assess the partition tables on boot and see if there’s anything wrong with them. If it detects errors, GPT can try to repair itself.
In short: GPT is more resilient to errors."
Last edited by lingyi; 30th Jan 2020 at 13:34.
How many use or even know what Bitlocker is?
One big advantage to GPT over MBR: MBR only supports disks up to 2TB (4TB if you do some non-trivial tweaking), GPT goes up to something like 9 billion terrabytes. Which may just be an SSD option in a few years!
Need to clarify a few things:
UEFI requires GPT, Legacy BIOS doesn't require MBR - it's optional.
Windows (last 4 major releases) with UEFI uses 4 partitions - WinRE, EFI System, MS Reserved/Recovery, and OS/Data. It varies, though depending on era, stock vs. oem, and MBR vs. GPT. See https://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/article.php?id=619.
If you have a new machine, and you are install ing a recent Win10 build, there should be NO reason to do anything beyond the stock UEFI+GPT+4partition setup, as it'll run smoother, faster booting, and better recovery options that way. (deleting all existing partitions to bare unformatted drive, and letting the installer do it automatically is a failsafe method)
Since 1 of those 4 partitions is invisible, except during recovery modes, and the other 2 have no drive letter mapped to them, there is only 1 drive letter - C: so it's not like you are gaining anything by avoiding multiple partitions. And on modern drives the amount of space taken up by them is MINISCULE.
I re-image multiple PCs weekly, if not daily, and see no apparent benefit to you doing what you seem to want to do.