How to downgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 7 on a computer has GPT (partition type) and UEFI (instead of BIOS)

04/09/2013 — Leave a comment

New laptops are sold with Windows 8. You might think of downgrading it to Windows 7 by simply formatting like the old days.  Bad news! There are some challenges waiting for you!

Firstly, log in to Windows 8 and insert Windows 7 media. Try downgrading it by the wizard. If you can’t manage to install it and have GPT related issues, continue reading.

  • First challenge: There is no BIOS anymore! UEFI replaces it. “Secure boot” which is a feature of UEFI will prevent you booting from your Windows 7 DVD.
  • Second challenge: Even you successfully boot from Windows 7 DVD, you won’t be able to install Windows because the disk partition table is GPT, not MBR.

Resolution

  • Solution for the first challenge: Disable “Secure boot”.
    You need to change UEFI settings.

    1. Follow these instructions to get into UEFI settings: http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials/20256-uefi-firmware-settings-boot-inside-windows-8-a.html

      Disable “Secure Boot”

      .

    2. While you are in UEFI settings screen, give boot priority to “Legacy Support” and “Legacy First
    3. Change boot order. Move “DVD-ROM” to up (as it was in the old days…)

      Legacy Support and Boot Order

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    4. Finally, you will be able to boot from whatever media you want
      .
  • Solution for the second challenge: Change the partition table from GPT to MBR
    Normally, you can change the partition table in Disk Management in Windows. In this case, you can’t do it because there will be only one disk and you cannot change the partition type of the disk your OS is installed in it. Instead, follow these steps:
    1. Download a “live CD” such as Ubuntu, Knoppix, Ophcrack which will give you the opportunity of having an operating system without formatting the disk.
    2. Burn the ISO file to CD and boot your computer from it
    3. Open Disk Management Utility of the system you use. For example, it is called “Disk Utility” in Ubuntu or “GParted Partition Editor” in Ophcrack.
    4. Change the partition type as MBR or msdos (Name might be different depending on the management software)
    5. Restart your computer and boot from Windows 7

Changing partition type in Ubuntu

 

Changing partition type in Ophcrack

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