How to fix "Windows cannot be installed to this disk" error?

Issue: Hi, I was trying to install Windows on my PC, but I got an error “Windows cannot be installed to this disk.” Any advice on this would be appreciated.

Solved Answer

When attempting to install Windows on a computer, users may encounter the “Windows cannot be installed to this disk” error. This error can come in several different forms, and identifying the specific iteration of the error message is essential to resolving the issue and successfully installing Windows.

The error occurs when the hard drive partition style is not compatible with the BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) version of the computer. There are two versions of BIOS: the newer Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) and the older Legacy BIOS. The UEFI version is more modern, while the Legacy BIOS is older.

Each version is only compatible with a specific hard drive partition style. When there is a mismatch between the BIOS version and the hard drive partition style, the “Windows cannot be installed to this disk” error message appears.

By understanding the cause of the error and identifying which iteration of the message you are receiving, you can take the necessary steps to resolve the issue and successfully install Windows on your computer.

The second sentence of the error message provides valuable information that can help identify the root cause of the issue. If the second sentence reads, “The selected disk is of the GPT partition style,” it indicates that the computer has a Legacy BIOS. Since BIOS does not work with the GPT partition style, you will need to convert it to MBR to proceed with the Windows installation.

On the other hand, if the second sentence in your error message reads, “The selected disk has an MBR partition table. On EFI systems, Windows can only be installed on GPT disks,” it means that your computer has a UEFI BIOS. In this case, Windows can only be installed on GPT partition-style disks, and attempting to install it on an MBR partition table will result in the error message. As such, we provide ways of fixing this error, so check which one applies to you.

How to fix "Windows cannot be installed to this disk" error?

“Selected Disk Is of the GPT Partition Style” type error fix

If your BIOS is legacy-type, you will have to convert the drive. Before you decide anything, you need to check whether your BIOS supports UEFI. To do so, follow these steps:

  • Restart your PC and continue pressing Del, F2, F8, F12, or another button to access BIOS (note: the button is set to depend on your motherboard, so you can either try them or simply go look it up online).
  • When in BIOS, go to the Boot section.
  • Here, look for Boot mode, and scroll through the options available.
  • If no UEFI isn't available, you'll have to convert your drive.

Check for UEFI

If you do have the UEFI option, you should skip the next steps and proceed with the next solution. Otherwise, use the following instructions to convert your drive to MBR. Note that this will wipe everything that's on your drive, so keep that in mind.

  • Insert the Windows installation disk and wait for the Windows Setup to show up.
  • Then, press Shift + F10 on your keyboard to open Command Prompt.
  • When Command Prompt opens, type diskpart and press Enter.
  • Type list disk and press Enter.
  • You will now see all your drives listed – your goal is to select the disk you want to install Windows on. To select it, type select disk 0.
  • Finally, enter convert mbr.

Convert to MBR

“Selected Disk Has an MBR Partition Table” error fix

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If your computer has a UEFI setting and is running MBR, you'll have to convert it to GPT to fix the “Windows cannot be installed to this disk” error. We recommend using Command Prompt again:

  • Follow the steps in the previous solution to open Command Prompt.
  • Use diskpart and list disk commands again, and select the disk in question by using select disk 0 command.
  • Finally, use convert gpt command to convert the disk to GPT.

Convert to GPT

Note that you could simply disable EFI Boot Sources in BIOS instead. To do this, access BIOS and go to the Boot order section. If it is set to EFI boot sources, disable it and then try installing Windows.

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About the author
Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The problem solver

Ugnius Kiguolis is the founder and editor-in-chief of UGetFix. He is a professional security specialist and malware analyst who has been working in IT industry for over 20 years.

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