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Windows 7 "cannot be installed to this disk"

Last response: in Windows 7
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November 9, 2012 3:48:17 AM

Hi all,

Processor: AMD A8-5600K 3.6GHz
Motherboard: AMD A75 FCH
HDD: Hitachi HDS721010CLA630

I just bought this HP Pavilion P6-2350 which came preinstalled with Windows 8, and I have been having an incredible amount of difficulty installing Windows 7 64 Ultimate. I couldn't even boot from the Windows 7 install DVD until I disabled the secure boot, and when I was finally able to select the partition to install it on, it said that it couldn't install because the disk was GPT format. I cleaned the disk with the diskpart utility and converted it to MBR, assuming that would work, but no such luck.

No matter what I do, I run into an error message saying "Windows cannot be installed to this disk. This computer's hardware may not support booting to this disk. Ensure that the disk's controller is enabled in the computer's BIOS menu." In the BIOS menu, the hard disk appears under the legacy sources in the boot order, and I'm able to create and format partitions in the windows installer and the diskpart utility. I even changed it back to GPT and I get the error about GPT format as well as the same error about the disk controller now.

Naturally I've googled the error and tried everything I could find to no avail:
-changed the SATA emulation to AHCI and IDE and back, no effect (same error)
-Deleted all partitions and tried to use the installer on the uninitialized disk (same error)
-Created one smaller partition around 100 GB (same error)

Windows support website says that the error means either that there are multiple uninitialized hard drives (there is only 1 and it runs into the same error, initialized or not) or that the computer isn't able to boot from the selected disk (but "hard disk" appears in the boot order as a legacy source).

The PC is brand new and ran Windows 8 with no problems - did I screw something up by deleting all of the UEFI partitions? What exactly is preventing Windows 7 from installing here?

Thank you for any help or explanations you can give!

More about : windows installed disk

a b $ Windows 7
November 9, 2012 4:20:26 AM

You had a new computer with Windows 8 on it and it ran ok with no problems and you wanted to install Windows 7 on it ? Why ?

The problem is that HP sets up hidden partitions on the drive to house repair software and a system image to restore the computer to fatory condition. I don't know exactly what you have done and what you have deleted but you may have screwed up the Windows 8 install. If you haven't deleted the partition with the restore sooftware then you can restore the hard drive to factory condition with Windows 8. would go to the HP support web page and enter in the model number and see if you can get instructions on how to acess the hidden partition.
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November 9, 2012 1:40:19 PM

Thanks for responding!

inzone said:
You had a new computer with Windows 8 on it and it ran ok with no problems and you wanted to install Windows 7 on it ? Why ?


I messed around with it for a while and didn't like it. I assumed that if it could run 8 with no problems, it could probably run 7 as well. Honestly, with the way 8 forces its app store, I would prefer to avoid it altogether. I attempted a dual installation, but that didn't work either because 7 has issues with GPT disks (although I found out shortly after cleaning the disk that there was a way to do it - should have been more careful about that).

inzone said:
The problem is that HP sets up hidden partitions on the drive to house repair software and a system image to restore the computer to fatory condition. I don't know exactly what you have done and what you have deleted but you may have screwed up the Windows 8 install. If you haven't deleted the partition with the restore sooftware then you can restore the hard drive to factory condition with Windows 8. would go to the HP support web page and enter in the model number and see if you can get instructions on how to acess the hidden partition.


The HDD should be completely empty at this point - I would not have been able to convert between MBR and GPT otherwise, as I understand it. But why would clearing it cause the Windows 7 installer to consider it unusable when it's not corrupted or anything?


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a b $ Windows 7
November 9, 2012 3:23:11 PM

That's why I was telling you about the hidden partition if the Windows 7 installer is seeing that hidden partition with the Windows 8 files on it then that may be where your running into trouble. If your totaly done with Win.8 then try and see if the total free space matches what the hard drive is supposed to have.
In a worst case senario you can get a usb drive and make it bootable and load Liux (Ubuntu) on it and go into the Linux OS and wipe the drive and secure erase it . the Linux OS will see all the partitions and you can delete them all and make the hard drive a raw unused space and then the Windows installer can make one partition and format it and load Windows. I have done this before with the Linux OS.
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November 9, 2012 5:08:15 PM

inzone said:
That's why I was telling you about the hidden partition if the Windows 7 installer is seeing that hidden partition with the Windows 8 files on it then that may be where your running into trouble. If your totaly done with Win.8 then try and see if the total free space matches what the hard drive is supposed to have.
In a worst case senario you can get a usb drive and make it bootable and load Liux (Ubuntu) on it and go into the Linux OS and wipe the drive and secure erase it . the Linux OS will see all the partitions and you can delete them all and make the hard drive a raw unused space and then the Windows installer can make one partition and format it and load Windows. I have done this before with the Linux OS.


Ah, I see - thank you. However, a friend just showed me this article: http://www.gizbot.com/news/hp-turns-down-support-for-wi...

It looks like HP has no intention of supporting Windows 7 on their newer PCs, so even if I got it installed, getting it to run smoothly would be another challenge. I don't think I'm prepared to fight that battle. I wish I had know that when I purchased it, but that's neither here nor there. I'm going to try to reinstall Windows 8, and, if that doesn't work, I will try using Linux to do a secure erase and try again.

Thank you again for the help!
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a b $ Windows 7
November 9, 2012 5:18:48 PM

I read that article and that's bull what a bummer that you can't revert to Windows 7 if you don't like Windows 8. I think that if you did di Windows 7 you could find the drivers individually and get it to run right but as you said it would be a challange and you would have to be willing to want to do that.
Good luck with whatever way you choose to go and if you need further help you can always come back here and post again.
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