Windows – Cannot boot Windows 7 DVD from UEFI

-setupuefiwindows 7

I am trying to install a Windows 7 x64 Home Premium in UEFI mode1. For this purpose, I obtained a DVD from the vendor of my computer that contains all editions of Windows 7 x64. (The Microsoft Win 7 ISO download site does not work for me because it refuses to accept the (OEM) product key found on my computer's certificate of authenticity, hence I cannot download from there – Microsoft recommends to ask the PC vendor for a disk instead, which is what I did.)

According to some resources such as this article (only in German), Windows 7 x64 DVDs are already prepared for UEFI installation. Also, the article says I need to enter the UEFI boot menu upon booting while the Windows DVD is in the drive. The UEFI boot menu should then show two entries for the DVD drive, one labeled "UEFI" for the UEFI boot.

I can enter the UEFI boot menu. Unfortunately, I see only the following entries ("…" means I skipped some detail information that only consisted of letters and numbers and probably does nothing to illustrate the issue):

  • UEFI Default
  • SATA2:HL-DT-ST DVDRAM …
  • SATA1:…
  • Generic-SD/MMC 1.00
  • Generic-Compact Flash 1.01
  • Generic-SM/XD-Picture 1.02
  • Generic-MS/MS-Pro 1.08
  • Realtek PXE B01 D00
  • Enter Setup

So, the DVD does not show up in UEFI mode; it just shows up once, in normal mode.

As far as I can tell, secure boot is disabled in my MSI UEFI BIOS. (It looks like this, and the entire Windows 8 feature group that contains the secure boot feature is set to disabled.)

From superficially looking at the contents of the installation DVD, it looks like it is supposed to support UEFI boot:

  • There is a bootmgr.efi file in the root directory.
  • There are some files in a /efi/microsoft/boot subdirectory (namely bcd, cdboot.efi, cdboot_noprompt.efi, efisys.bin, efisys_noprompt.bin, as well as a fonts subdirectory).

Am I doing anything wrong in the UEFI boot manager while trying to launch the setup? Or is my Windows 7 DVD not actually fit for UEFI boot – in which case my question becomes: Can I create a modified bootable Windows 7 setup medium based upon the DVD I have that actually can boot in UEFI mode?

1: My actual objective is to make use of the full 4 TB of my system HDD, which seems to be possible only with GPT rather than MBR, which in turn seems to require installing Windows 7 in UEFI mode.

Best Answer

  • From what I can conclude from multiple sources, installation media for Windows 7 x64 is not guaranteed to be bootable in pure UEFI for all hardware configurations (it was released at a time before UEFI systems are commonplace - mostly just BIOS or some early version of EFI). For the cases that worked, the vendors have implemented some kind of explicit support in the form of hybrid mode (UEFI+legacy) or CSM to allow the media to boot in "impure" UEFI/EFI mode.

    In other cases, Windows 7 was installed during BIOS/legacy mode to MBR partitions, and the partitions are converted to GPT later using disk imaging tools (this is also known as converting a working Windows 7 BIOS installation to UEFI - this worked for me). This approach is addressed in: How to move an existing installation of Window 7 64bit to UEFI (from legacy)

    There is also a third approach to bypass the UEFI boot issue, by booting into some other environment (WinPE, or even another version of Windows that is already installed and running in UEFI), where Windows 7 installation to UEFI can be initiated without having to boot the installation media itself.

    You need to have Windows 7 x64 installed using UEFI, but Windows 7 can't install in a pure UEFI environment. If you can't boot into the UEFI installer with your legacy BIOS (CSM) enabled you need to use an EFI shell and start the installer from the EFI command line. It's not as difficult as it sounds. There are also guides around for converting an in place Windows 7 system from BIOS to UEFI, and while that should also fix it, none of those guides worked for me.

    Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/Windows10/comments/3l6110/windows_7_upgrade_and_0xc000000f_device_not/

    A bug report on 'UEFI Win 7 USB fails to boot'. I encountered a similar error and verified that the installation media can boot in UEFI with other hardware, just not the hardware that it cannot work with.

    Source: https://github.com/pbatard/rufus/issues/254

    On some Acer, Gateway, P. Bell, Windows 7 x64 will not install in UEFI mode, you need to use Legacy mode.

    Source: https://www.eightforums.com/installation-setup/29993-trying-install-win7-uefi-mode.html

    FAQ from a motherboard vendor that explains their UEFI support for Windows 7:

    In order to install Windows 7 on 1762/16F3 with a Windows 8 BIOS, be sure to go to BIOS -> Boot -> Boot Mode, change UEFI to LEGACY. Failure to do so will cause the OS to hang at “Starting Windows” and will not proceed further. Once you switches to Legacy mode then the issue disappears.

    Why I can’t use UEFI mode to load Windows 7?

    It is impossible to install Win7 OS (using WinPE3.0 environment) in our Win8 NB UEFI mode (pure UEFI) setting, that’s why you need to switch to legacy mode. Win8 BIOS’ UEFI mode only supports WinPE 4.0 protocols. On desktop motherboards, Win7 OS can be installed via UEFI mode because this UEFI mode is Hybrid therefore it supports such installation. This is not a pure UEFI mode but a mixture of Legacy and UEFI environment. This pure UEFI mode in NB BIOS is same as enabling UEFI Win8 features under motherboard BIOS.

    Source: https://service.msicomputer.com/msi_user/support/techfaqdetail.aspx?formid=3061

    Related:

    Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit cannot boot in UEFI

    Can only install Windows 7 in UEFI-Legacy Mode

    Installing Win 7 To GPT and Why My UEFI Mobo Won't Boot From CD Unless In Legacy Mode

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