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Install Windows 7 or 8 to 2.75TB drive with MBR?

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October 23, 2012 2:08:53 AM

I recently got a 3TB (2.75TB) SATA drive (Seagate Barracuda ST3000DM001), and wanted to install Windows to it. From what I understand though, it seems Windows (7 anyway) can only be booted from hard drives using MBR in non-UEFI mode, and MBR has a partition size limit of exactly 2 TB by default. I thought I read though that Windows doesn't format drives properly by default to use 4k sectors, which is why the size might be reported incorrectly, but formatting with 4k sectors will allow all space usable on MBR?

I heard Windows 8 has better compatibility with drives larger than 2TB and that use 4k sectors, but I wasn't able to really find any solid information about this.

My motherboard (Biostar A880G+) doesn't have any UEFI BIOS updates and Biostar said they didn't plan on making any either, so using native UEFI doesn't seem possible currently.

Is there any way to install Windows to this hard drive, with a single partition that has all 2.75 TB usable? If possible, I would prefer not to use any "fake" UEFI implementations and/or bootloaders, but just a clean, default Windows install.
a b $ Windows 7
a c 324 G Storage
October 23, 2012 2:41:14 PM

No, Windows 7 (x64) will only boot a GPT drive on a UEFI bios. And to get all 3Tb as a single volume you need to format as a GPT drive.

AFAIK Windows 8 also requires the same -- a UEFI bios to boot from a GPT drive.

You can use the full drive as a storage drive, you just cannot boot from it until you upgrade your motherboard.
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December 8, 2012 1:04:11 AM

Actually Windows 7 install 64 or 32 bit will not even see a GPT drive. It will only see a MBR drive but once you have it installed it can then see the GPT drives. Windows 8 is the first non server based WIndows to use GPT as the install format
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