You receive the “Setup cannot install to the selected partition” error message when you try to install Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP

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Article ID: 888929 - View products that this article applies to.
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SYMPTOMS

You try to install Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows Server 2003 or a x64-based version of Windows Server 2003 on a computer that has an existing operating system or that had an operating system that has been removed. In this scenario, you may receive one of the following error messages:

Setup cannot install to the selected partition.
You can only install to GPT disks on IA-64 machines and MBR disks on X-86 machines.
You can only upgrade installations on GPT disks on IA-64 machines and MBR disks on X-86 machines.
To go back to the previous screen press ENTER

CAUSE

This behavior occurs if the hard disk where you want to install Windows is formatted as a GUID partition table (GPT) hard disk.

Only Windows Server 2003 for Itanium-based computers can be set up on a GPT hard disk. Windows x64-based operating systems and Windows 32-bit operating systems cannot be set up on GPT hard disks.

GPT disks can be used as a data volume with Windows x64-based computers and with Windows Server 2003-based computers that are running Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1.

WORKAROUND

To work around this behavior, you must convert your GPT hard disk to a master boot record (MBR) hard disk. When you run the Setup program, delete all the partitions on your hard disk. After all the partitions are deleted, you will be offered the option to convert the GPT hard disk to an MBR hard disk.

Alternatively, if you already have an operating system installed on your computer, you can use Disk Management to convert the hard disk where you want to install a second operating system from a GPT disk to a MBR disk.

Note We recommend that you back up the data on your hard disk before you convert from GPT to MBR. All the partitions on you hard disk must be removed to complete the hard disk conversion.

Work around for Windows Server 2003

To use Disk Management to convert a hard disk from GPT to MBR on a Windows Server 2003-based computer, follow these steps:

Note Windows Server 2003-based computers must have Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 installed before the hard disk can be converted from a GPT hard disk to an MBR hard disk.
  1. Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Computer Management.
  2. In the console tree, click Disk Management.
  3. Right-click the GPT disk that you want to change to an MBR disk, and then click Convert to MBR disk.
Alternatively, you can use the Diskpart command at a command prompt to convert the hard disk from GPT architecture to MBR architecture. For more information about how to convert to MBR disk architecture at the command prompt, type diskpart at the command line, and then type ?.

Work around for Windows XP-based computers

For additional information about how to convert to a MBR disk architecture, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
282793 How to change a GUID partition table disk into a master boot record disk in Windows XP
300415 A description of the Diskpart command-line utility

MORE INFORMATION

Technical support for Windows x64 editions

Your hardware manufacturer provides technical support and assistance for Microsoft Windows x64 editions. Your hardware manufacturer provides support because a Windows x64 edition was included with your hardware. Your hardware manufacturer might have customized the Windows x64 edition installation with unique components. Unique components might include specific device drivers or might include optional settings to maximize the performance of the hardware. Microsoft will provide reasonable-effort assistance if you need technical help with your Windows x64 edition. However, you might have to contact your manufacturer directly. Your manufacturer is best qualified to support the software that your manufacturer installed on the hardware.

For product information about Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/64bit/default.mspx
For product information about Microsoft Windows Server 2003 x64 editions, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/64bit/x64/editions.mspx

Properties

Article ID: 888929 - Last Review: October 11, 2007 - Revision: 3.4
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Web Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition
Keywords: 
kbsetup kbprb kbtshoot KB888929

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