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Cant Install Win 7 and Cant extend / partition HDD

Last response: in Storage
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May 31, 2014 7:12:53 PM

I get this error right at the very end of installation:

"Windows Setup could not configure Windows on this computer's hardware"

Its on an New Seagate 3.5'' 3TB HDD. Diskpart only recognizes 746 GB of the drive because of the limitations of an external docking station I used to format at the beginning.

I read that I have to break the drive into two or more partitions under 2 TB.

How do I break the drive into 2 1.5 TB partitions when diskpart only recognizes 746GB ? I tried extending the drive and diskpart just says it doesnt have any more space available.

Seagate is saying I need to use their discwizard software but I don't know how I use that in conjunction with a fresh install.

Thanks.
a b G Storage
May 31, 2014 7:21:22 PM

W7 64 or 32?
Don't use the docking station to load Windows. Plug it into a sata port and attach a power supply cable to it.
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a c 342 G Storage
May 31, 2014 10:30:48 PM

You used an external docking station to Partition and Format the 3 TB unit BEFORE starting the Install. That station and the process you followed placed a set of Partitioning data on the HDD that Windows can't handle properly.

The root of the problem is pre-Partitioning the HDD unit. There is NO need to do that. The Windows Install process can Partition and Format a drive for you before doing the Install work. Moreover, it can DELETE an old Partition so you can start fresh.

Install the HDD unit in your machine, if it's not there already, and place the Windows Install CD in your optical drive. Boot up and go immediately into BIOS Setup to make sure your Boot Priority is set to the optical drive first, then the 3 TB unit second. I assume you have a mobo with UEFI BIOS, so make sure it is set to function that way. If you have to make any changes in BIOS Setup, remember to SAVE and Exit. Your machine will boot from the Install CD.

Don't blindly go ahead an hit "Enter". Look for the way to use menu choices to Delete any and all Partitions already on that 3 TB unit. THEN start the Install process and have Windows do the work. If necessary, ensure that it creates a GUID (GPT) type partition that uses all the space on your HDD - that's probably about 2.8 TB.
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June 1, 2014 4:13:44 AM

The reason I wanted to format externally before I installed the disk into the comp is because I use a special windows install process through a usb pen drive and if I let that that process prepare the drive (instead of doing it myself) it creates an unessisary 9mb boot partition that I dont want. The two issues arent related - I just didnt want windows to do the format for that reason.

I'm not sure I have a uefi bios option - I'll check but I think its unlikely (most computers dont have that option). Its a dell optiplex 960 sff.
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June 1, 2014 4:43:36 AM

Its confirmed not to have UEFI. Does that mean the drive is unuseable even if I find a way to make it 2 1.5 tb partitions?
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a c 342 G Storage
June 1, 2014 12:59:02 PM

Not unusable. More of slightly limited use.

Windows uses a default Partitioning system known as MBR, and that includes both the data specifics and the format of the Partition Table written at the beginning of a HDD unit. When it goes to boot from a hard drive, the BIOS needs to know two things about that device: exactly where is the Partition Table, and how is the data in it organized so it can find the actual boot files on that HDD unit. Until recently, all BIOS's assumed that the HDD unit would have an MBR-type BIOS and it looked for data in that form. Using that, it could load the required files and boot Windows.

The problem that leaves, though, is that the MBR system allows for enough space to lay out up to 2 TB of data on a drive. It cannot be used for a Partition larger than that. So in your case, you could create and use a Partition of up to 2 TB on that 3 TB HDD, with the 2 TB being an MBR-type Partition. Windows would be happy to use that, and your machine's BIOS can boot from that just fine. However, the rest of the space on that HDD cannot be accessed that way.

The "proper" solution for this is to have a newer machine with a UEFI BIOS. These machines' BIOS code allow you to choose whether your HDD is Partitioned using MBR (as above) or using the new GPT system that allows much larger HDD units, and much larger Partitions on them. Using that, a you can create one or more Partitions on an HDD unit larger than 2 TB and the BIOS CAN read that form of Partition Table and boot from it. Moreover, the Partition(s) you create can be larger than 2 TB if you wish. That way you can use the whole large HDD as one "drive".

BUT you also need the correct version of Windows to do this. M$ decided not to implement support for (ability to use) HDD units partitioned in the GPT style in any of its 32-bit versions of Operating Systems. So you MUST install a 64-bit Windows version if you wish to use all of a HDD Partitioned in this new way.

In your case, there's an intermediate configuration you might consider, although maybe not exactly what you want. I believe it is possible to Install a 64-bit version of Windows in a 2TB Partition on a 3 TB HDD unit, and it will boot from that. You will still have about 760 GB of Unallocated Space on the HDD unit. But since you have a 64-bit Windows installed, you can then Create in that Unallocated Space a second Partition to be used as a separate "drive", with its own letter name, for data storage. Your BIOS that lacks UEFI support can boot from the first Partition into the 64-bit version of Windows you have installed and you will be able to use all the space of the 3 TB unit. It's just that not ALL of the 3 TB of space will be in ONE "drive" or volume. It will be in two separate "drives".
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June 2, 2014 4:18:30 AM

Okay, lots of good info there. I am fine using the 3tb drive as a 2tb drive (the alternitive is buying another drive). What are the steps to avoid the original error, and, either using diskpart with the drive in the computer, or disk managment with the disk in an external docking station to change it from a 746gb drive to a 2000gb drive? Remember, I tried extending the partition only a few GB and got a message that no more space was available.

Thanks.
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Best solution

a c 342 G Storage
June 2, 2014 10:16:32 AM

The 746 GB space sounds a great deal like the "leftover" when you use a 3 TB HDD to create the max MBR Partition of 2048 GB. What may be happening is this: Your HDD already has a 2 TB Partition on it, leaving 746 GB of Unallocated Space. Windows Install starts out looking for Unallocated Space in which to Create its own Partition for installing Windows. But later it realizes that it cannot allocate that space into a second Partition, either because that is beyond the capabilities of the MBR Partition Table to accommodate such information, or because you are trying to install a 32-bit version of Windows, and only the 64-bit versions allow you to go beyond 2 TB.

You could use Seagate's Disk Wizard utilities to Delete all the Partitions on that HDD and start over to Create the Partitions you want. THEN install Windows on that, but you will need to install a 64-bit version. Moreover, you'll need to pay attention and tell it to use the existing first Partition, and not insist on finding Unallocated Space to use.
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June 2, 2014 4:31:06 PM

I made some progress. I learned that I needed a specific intel IRST raid driver before windows will even detect the full 3tb of space and allow me to manipulate it. So, now I created a 794gb partition and a 2tb partition. However, when I go to install xp on another computer, with that drive, I get a BSOD as soon as the system starts to use the drive.

Any ideas?

My suspicion is that windows xp wont use a 3tb disc as the system drive no matter how its partitioned, maybe someone else knows better.
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June 5, 2014 3:24:45 AM

Accidently hit pick as solution when I went to click on edit options. There is no solution that I could find anywhere - even slipstreaming hack software only makes > 2tb avail as a data disk to windows xp, not a system disk.

At least I found the reason why windows 7 wouldnt detect the full 3tb of storage on a disk and fixed that.
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