Windows OS install errors are nothing new to Windows PC users and technicians. Installation errors represents some mis-configuration, incompatibility, missing device drivers, missing OS files, faulty device hardware or even BIOS failure to recognize certain device configuration. Such errors halt the install process and they can be a puzzle-hustle especially if you are not certain what could be bugging behind the scenes.
How to fix Windows cannot be installed on this disk error during installation.
Before you can store any data on a new hard drive, the drive needs to be partitioned (Not to be confused with formatting) There are two main ways of partitioning a hard drive that’s intended for use on a Windows, Linux or Mac OS system. These are MBR (Master Boot Record) and GPT (GUID Partition Table) partitioning schemes – Think of it more like a drive mapping scheme to flag the starting and ending points of the different partitions on a drive. Partitioning the hard drive will also let the operating system know which sector is meant to be bootable and which ones are intended for other types of data. In contrast to older MBR, the newer GPT standard promises a few more perks. With GPT, you can create unlimited number of partitions for a particular operating system and much larger in size partitions (larger than 2TB partitions). Due to this versatility, most new UEFI based Windows 8 or Windows 10 PCs will probably have the GPT partitioning style.
Reasons for Windows cannot be installed on this disk error:
With the above concept of data storage in mind and depending on the current BIOS settings, you may encounter ”Windows cannot be installed on this disk error” while installing Windows or other operating systems. Not to panic, this is absolutely fine and with a few changes in configuration you will be firing up the newly installed operating system.
- The PC booted in Legacy mode but the selected installation disk is not formatted for MBR partition style which supports most Legacy OS like Windows 7.
Reboot PC from your Windows set up CD, once on the 1st Windows install screen press Shift+F10 to launch the command prompt off the Windows image. Optionally you can access the command prompt utility from the Windows Start up repair Options>Advanced Options>command prompt.
Now you will use the available Disk partition utility to convert the hard drive to an MBR formatted disk.
NOTE: This will erase all previous drive partitions and data. If you wish to retain any data on the drive STOP right there and use a 3rd party disk partioning tool like Minitool partition Wizard.
Type in the following commands pressing enter Key after each.
Diskpart (where 0 represents the disk you want to install windows-change accordingly)
Select disk 0
To ensure everything runs smooth after Installing Windows, Reboot PC, go back to BIOS settings and change to Legacy BIOS compatibility mode. This will allow you keep the existing hard drive partitioning and install windows in the usual way using Legacy BIOS system.
- The PC booted in UEFI BIOS mode but the selected installation disk is not formatted for GPT partition style. Most newer UEFI based computers support the GPT partitioning style for Windows 8, Windows 10 and other newer operating systems. Both of these OS support newer UEFI BIOS system along side legacy BIOS. UEFI version of BIOS offers improvement to older BIOS including boot and shutdown speed, enhanced security, better system stability. Using UEFI BIOS also allows you to install windows without turning secure boot off. You may get this error if you booted the computer in UEFI mode but the hard drive partition is not configured to support UEFI BIOS mode.
- UEFI BIOS requires a GPT partitioned drive. This will require you to convert your drive partitioning sytle from MBR to GPT partition style. There are many third party tools you can use for this eg. Minitool partition wizard. An even easier way if at all you don’t require to retain any data is to use command prompt available on Windows set up disc. Reboot PC from your Windows set up CD, while on Windows install screen press Shift+F10 to launch the Command Prompt. Optionally go to Windows Start up repair Options>Advanced Options>command prompt to start CMD Console in recovery.
- Now you will use Disk partition tool to convert hard drive to GPT disk. Type in the following commands pressing enter Key after each.
Diskpart (0 is the disk you want to install windows)
Select disk 0
NOTE: Partitioning the drive to be usable with different BIOS configurations or different operating system could be well done outside windows. There are multiple drive partitioning tools for Windows, Linux and MAC OS but below I have listed a few of the better ones that I hope will get you going a couple of minutes
Recommended drive partitioning tools:
Minitool Partion Wizard (Windows)
Gnome Partition Editor (MAC)