You cannot install or start Windows Vista when the volume of the system partition is larger than 2 terabytes

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Article ID: 946557 - View products that this article applies to.
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SYMPTOMS

You cannot install or start Windows Vista when the volume of the system partition is larger than 2 terabytes (TB).

CAUSE

This issue occurs for one of the following reasons:
  • You configure the master boot record (MBR) disk as the boot partition.

    When the MBR disk is used as the boot partition or as the data partition, 2 TB is set as the size limit for the MBR disk. For more information about the size limit for the MBR disk, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
    http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/device/storage/LUN_SP1.mspx
  • You configure the GUID partition table (GPT) disk as the boot partition.

    When you start an operating system from a GPT disk, the Extended Firmware Interface (EFI)-based BIOS is required. However, the EFI-based BIOS is not supported in Windows Vista 32-bit editions. Additionally, it is not supported in Windows Vista 64-bit editions unless you install Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1).

    Note There is no 2-TB limit if the GPT disk is used in a data partition.

WORKAROUND

Windows Vista 32-bit editions

To work around this issue, set the size of the system partition to less than 2 TB, and then reinstall Windows Vista.

Windows Vista 64-bit editions

To work around this issue, use the GPT disk as the boot partition, and then install Windows Vista SP1.

For more information about how to obtain the latest Windows Vista service pack, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
935791 How to obtain the latest Windows Vista service pack
For more information about how to create an installation image of Windows Vista to which SP1 is already applied, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
934307 Description of the Windows Update Stand-alone Installer (Wusa.exe) and of .msu files in Windows Vista and in Windows Server 2008

MORE INFORMATION

For more information about BIOS boot configuration, visit the following Microsoft Web site, and then see the "Boot Configuration Database" section:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/cc162480.aspx
For more information about the GPT drive, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/device/storage/GPT_FAQ.mspx
For more information about Unified Extended Firmware Interface support in Windows Vista, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
930061 Unified Extended Firmware Interface support in Windows Vista

Properties

Article ID: 946557 - Last Review: May 12, 2008 - Revision: 1.4
APPLIES TO
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Business 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition
Keywords: 
kbharmony kbtshoot kbdeployment kbsetup kbexpertiseinter KB946557

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