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Windows 7: Considering converting HP Mini 110 from MBR to GPT

02 Aug 2016   #1

Windows 7 Starter 32 bit
Considering converting HP Mini 110 from MBR to GPT

I'm looking into the possibility of converting my HP Mini from MBR to GPT. From what I've read so far, (which hasn't been a whole lot), this can be done even on machines whose motherboard and bios were designed for MBR, but it will be necessary to use a different boot manager like GRUB2 or some other. I've also read that certain Windows don't support booting from a GPT partition at all, in particular, XP and 32 bit* Windows 7. Is it possible to "force" such versions of Windows to work on GPT partitions through the use of a different boot manager and possibly by using something like Clonezilla to:
  • offload, as it were, an installed Windows OS to another location;
  • then repartition the original drive as GPT;
  • then drop the Windows OS back onto the original drive into a GPT partion?

*My Windows is 32 bit, but the machine is 64 bit capable. I know because I was able to boot up using a live usb of a 64 bit Debian linux distro.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Aug 2016   #2

Windows 10 Pro x64

What would be your purpose for trying this ?

From what I`ve read, GPT is not supported under BIOS its only supported by UEFI systems.

But read this.

Booting Windows 7 from a GPT Disk Using BIOS (non-UEFI) | Windows OS Hub

I would only attempt it on a spare drive before wiping your current system.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Aug 2016   #3

Windows 7 Starter 32 bit

I've been experimenting with a few different versions of Linux. For the interim, I have settled on Linux Mint with the Mate DE, but it seems kind of sluggish on the HP Mini. I'd like to give some light weight Linux distros, BSD, and even Haiku (even though it is still alpha) a shot as well. BSD, or some of the BSDs at least, require a primary partition.

On the HP, which is the test machine, there isn't room for a second hard drive. Live USBs are OK for a first look, but a USB 2 device may not enable an accurate performance evaluation, even though my hard drive is the slower 5400 RPM variety. I don't know if an sd-card would be faster or slower than a stick.

As it is, the way HP had the W7 installation configured, I had to overcome the fact that all four primary partitions were already used. I didn't really want to blow anything away or make any of the partitions unusable by re-designating them as extended partitions. After a lot of research I found that the system partition for W7 didn't have to be a primary partition. I used Partition Wizard to change the partition to an extended partition and was then able to install Linux Mint on a set of logical partitions. Still could use an additional primary partition to install a BSD distro.
My System SpecsSystem Spec


 Considering converting HP Mini 110 from MBR to GPT

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