How to convert a PC from BIOS mode to UEFI mode   6 comments

Upgrading your Windows 7 PC to Windows 8 and considering the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) mode? If your PC supports it, this is a great time to change to UEFI. Why? UEFI mode can help your PC start faster, lets you use hard drives larger than 2 terabytes (TB), and can help you set up features like Secure Boot. Many Windows 7 PCs support UEFI but were set to boot to BIOS mode.

To switch to UEFI mode, you’ll need to do a few things: find the setting in the boot menus that enables UEFI booting, convert the entire drive to the GUID Partition Table (GPT) format, and install Windows again.

Step 1: Find the setting in the boot menus that enables UEFI booting

  • This differs from PC to PC. But typically, you press a key to enter the boot menus, look for an option like "UEFI Boot Mode", and enable it.

Step 2: Boot the Windows Setup disk in UEFI mode

  1. Load the Windows 7 or Windows 8 DVD. (If you’re setting up a dual-boot PC, install Windows 7 first.)
  2. Start the PC to boot the DVD in UEFI mode. Again, this is going to depend on your hardware, but often you can press a key during the boot sequence, and select an option like "EFI DVD/CD".

Step 3: Convert the drive to the GPT format

  1. When the Windows Setup program gets to the first set of installation screens, press Shift+F10 to open the command prompt.
  2. Figure out which disk is your primary hard drive, and select it. Typically it’s Drive 0, but it doesn’t hurt to check:
    list disk    review the list of drives, and make sure you’ve got the right one.)
    select disk 0
  3. Erase the hard drive, and convert it to the GPT format:
    convert gpt
  4. At this point, you can switch back to the installation program, and continue the Windows installation. Windows automatically sets up the partitions for the UEFI/GPT format.

See also: Dual-booting your PC (Windows Hardware Newsletter, November 7, 2012)

Posted December 23, 2012 by Robert Smit [MVP] in Windows 8

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