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Windows 7 installation on Hero VIII to SM951 M2 (AHCI) card.

Level 7

I have just built a new computer comprising:-

Skylake i7 6700K
16 GB Corsair Memory
Samsung SM951 M2 AHCI Card
Seagate 2TB HD's (2 off)
ASUS DVD Re-writer (2 off)
ASUS Strix GTX960 2GB Video card

I am totally new to UEFI BIOS and settings such as Launch CSM and Secure Boot and as a result had a little difficulty installing Windows 7.

To install, I had only the SM951 and one DVD drive connected.

The DVD I used was one created with the ASUS utility to include the USB 3 drivers.

I changed nothing in the BIOS, but did check that the first boot device was the UEFI version of the DVD (There was of course 2 listings for the drive, one UEFI and one native).

Windows 7 started to install, and at the screen where you select the drive to install on there was only the SM951 listed as expected. However, only 2 partitions were created at this point.

When Windows 7 had completed installing I checked with Disk Management and there was no UEFI partition listed, so Windows 7 had installed in legacy mode.

I then set Secure Boot in BIOS to "Other OS" and installed Windows 7 again.

At the screen to select a drive to install to I deleted the existing partitions on the SM951 so it was shown as Drive 0 unallocated space.

This time 3 partitions were created:-

Name Total Size Type
Disk 0 Partition 1 128MB MSR (Reserved)
Disk 0 Partition 2 100MB System
Disk 0 Partition 3 223GB Primary

Is this correct ?

I have seen a video on YouTube showing 4 partitions being created, the one missing above being an extra one at the beginning that would be

Name Total Size Type

Disk 0 Partition 1 Recovery 300MB Recovery

The partitions I had above would be 2, 3 and 4 respectively.

I believe his was on a Windows 8 installation, so could that account for the missing Recovery partition ?

I let the installation complet and again booted into windows without any adjustment to the BIOS (i.e. left Secure Boot at "Other OS").

In Disk Management I now have the following information on the SM951 drive:-

Drive 0 Basic 238.35GB Online

First Partition - 100MB Healthy (EFI System Partition)
Second Partition - (C: ) 238.25GB NTFS Healthy (Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition)

Is this correct ?

Is it just Windows 8 that has 3 partitions listed in Disk Management ?

Assuming Windows 7 has installed OK in UEFI mode, do I now need to alter any of the BIOS settings such as:-

Secure Boot - still set at "Other OS" - do I now set it to "Windows UEFI Mode" ?

What about any of the keys under Key Management - do I need to do anything to those settings or keys ?

Do I need to do any changes to the CSM (Compatibility Support Module - currently set to Enabled) ?

The manual (page 3-45) is confusing - I think there is an error in it - both Enabled and Disabled seem to do the same thing.....



Level 10
A UEFI system can boot only from a GPT disk, not MBR. (A BIOS system can boot only from an MBR disk and not GPT, which is why you can't take an OS disk from a BIOS system and put it in a UEFI system and expect the system to boot.)
Most UEFI motherboards come with a Compatibility Support Module (CSM), which is enabled by default. It makes the motherboard actually look like a BIOS system, allowing it to boot from NTFS and MBR disk--but you lose the UEFI features and are essentially just using BIOS. If you want to run your system as UEFI, you need to disable the CSM via the motherboard's interface before you try to install Windows.
Because UEFI requires a GPT disk to boot from, whatever disk you install to must have all partitions deleted from so it can be configured as GPT. It needs to show as a complete Unallocated Space.
Select New on the Unallocated Space, and four partitions will be created. This means your system is UEFI, and its been configured as GPT.
The Recovery partition is NTFS, and it holds the Windows recovery information. The System partition is FAT32 formatted and contains the EFI system partition that the computer will boot from. The MSR is the Microsoft Reserved Partition (which is space Microsoft might want in the future for certain disk operations such as converting from basic to dynamic). Last, there is the actual NTFS boot partition.
Your UEFI system can boot only from a device that has an EFI boot loader, so after the CSM has been disabled, the only boot devices that are listed will be UEFI aware.
After all of that, and Windows is installed, msinfo32 will show the BIOS mode as UEFI, not legacy.

This is what I did and it worked, but with WIN10. Not too sure about WIN7 but you will need to have secure boot disabled during the OS installation and should be turned back on after installation for WIN7.

Level 15
NickG wrote:

This time 3 partitions were created:-

Name Total Size Type
Disk 0 Partition 1 128MB MSR (Reserved)
Disk 0 Partition 2 100MB System
Disk 0 Partition 3 223GB Primary

Is this correct ?