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Having problems with Windows 8 downgrade. I don't understand the hard drive partitioning.

Last response: in Windows 7
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November 4, 2013 4:52:45 AM

I am attempting to downgrade (Or should i say, 'upgrade') the pre-installed version of Windows 8 on my Acer V3-571G back down to Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit. During the installation process, i get to the stage where it asks you where Windows should be placed on the hard drive. I selected the primary 750GB partition where Windows 8 is currently located, but it tells me that it cannot be used because it's a GPT partition. This is odd because i've seen proof that Windows 7 can indeed be installed onto a GPT partition.

Some websites on the Internet suggest hitting Shift + F10 during the installation to access the command prompt. They then advise typing the following commands to partition the hard drive correctly for the installation of Windows 7.

DISKPART
LIST DISK
SELECT DISK 0
CLEAN

Then you are supposed to click 'New' to create a fresh partition, and install Windows onto that. If the partition is created as GPT, you have to delete it, go back into command prompt and type 'CONVERT MBR' to get it to transform the disk to from GPT to MBR.

Apparently the 'clean' command wipes the entire drive, removing all partitions. I don't feel entirely comfortable doing this because there are some important looking partitions on the drive named 'Recovery', 'ESP', 'Push Button Recovery' and also another one which is a 'MSR (Reserved) partition.

This pretty good video shows the exact same partitions i have on my hard drive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgbXBtrHt6M

As well as the worry about deleting the partitions, i don't know whether to install with Legacy boot mode or UEFI. Windows 7 supposedly works with both, but Legacy is what most users seem to choose. UEFI offers more advantages over Legacy though, so i am undecided.

I don't know whether i should be using GPT or MBR either.

To be honest, i haven't got a clue what i'm doing, or talking about, because i don't often mess around with the partitions on hard drives. I try to avoid tweaking them if possible, in case i end up in a situation where Windows won't boot.

Any guidance on the installation would be greatly appreciated. I'm hoping someone with a bit more knowledge that me may be able to help me out.

Thanks!
a b * Windows 8
a b $ Windows 7
November 4, 2013 7:25:03 AM

Clean will indeed remove all partitions and overwrite the GPT record so you will have a single unpartitioned space.

Windows 7 can be installed on a GPT partition without too much trouble, and THIS GUIDE is accurate on how to.

I would first check that you can get Windows 7 drivers for your specific model. Also, do you have a full installation disk and activation key for Windows 7 already?

If you are unsure, perhaps you should double boot for a while before eliminating Windows 8 fully with a clean?
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November 4, 2013 7:50:11 AM

RealBeast said:
Clean will indeed remove all partitions and overwrite the GPT record so you will have a single unpartitioned space.

Windows 7 can be installed on a GPT partition without too much trouble, and THIS GUIDE is accurate on how to.

I would first check that you can get Windows 7 drivers for your specific model. Also, do you have a full installation disk and activation key for Windows 7 already?

If you are unsure, perhaps you should double boot for a while before eliminating Windows 8 fully with a clean?

Hi,

Thanks for the response RealBeast. I am able to obtain the drivers i need from the Acer website, and i have taken screenshots of the device manager pages so i know what drivers need installing. The Windows 7 installation is here on my USB drive, and yes, i do have the activation key also.

Dual booting is an interesting idea i hadn't thought of. It wouldn't make much sense to split the hard drive into two equally sized partitions and use both operating systems at the same time, but i could wipe Windows 8 and separate my hard drive so that Windows 7 gets the majority of the storage and Windows 8 gets the minority. My disc is 750GB, so i could provide W7 with 650GB, W8 with 75GB and then have Linux (As well as W7 + W8) with 25GB.

I still don't really know whether it's safe to delete these partitions though. Like i said originally, there's one called 'Recovery', another called 'ESP' and also one named 'Push Button Recovery'. As well as this, i have an 'MSR (Reserved) partition too. They sound important and i'm worried if i delete them, i'll mess up the system...
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Related resources
a b * Windows 8
a b $ Windows 7
November 4, 2013 8:26:13 AM

If you don't plan to use Windows 8, I would do a diskpart clean and get rid of the recovery partition and all other OEM partitions as they will just be a waste of space.

It is safe to remove all partitions if you only want to run Windows 7. None of those existing partitions are needed by 7, which will create 2 partitions of its own (an SRP -- system reserved partition -- and a C drive).

As far as multibooting, I find it more trouble than it's worth -- I run VMWare Workstation with multiple OSs that will run in a window, which is far more convenient and less likely to foul up your system. That is really a personal decision if you need to use 8 or Linux for something specific.
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a b $ Windows 7
November 4, 2013 1:38:55 PM

I'd probably take the precaution of creating a backup image of my current configuration in case I change my mind.

Which I wouldn't.

Also, you can delete all the partitions on the drive and create a single partition with all the space allocated to it during the Windows installation by selecting 'Advanced' at the screen where you choose the target partition.

If you want to, you can also create other partitions too at this stage.

Then you just continue with the install and let Windows sort it out. It will want to create an extra 100 MB partition for system use at this point which is cool.
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