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Thread: HOW-TO: step up from MBR CSM / LEGACY BOOT to UEFI / GPT

  1. #1
    alQamar's Avatar Citizen
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    Icon3 HOW-TO: step up from MBR CSM / LEGACY BOOT to UEFI / GPT

    You should feel encouraged to use secure boot / UEFI boot over legacy boot. Even Linux has found its way to deal with it having signed bootloaders now, also ATIH Linux recovery does.

    If you have Windows 10 and use a MBR based partition and have an UEFI based secure boot BIOS then you can switch from MBR to GPT without reinstalling.
    Microsoft decided to implement this feature, that I proposed in the insider hub (https://aka.ms/AA1lviq). This became possible in Windows 10 1703 or later.

    Audience:
    people that never bothered to look into their BIOS, people that upgraded from Windows 7 or 8.x to Windows 10.


    Major benefits of UEFI boot:
    uses a GPT OS partition
    > support partition sizes (bootable) larger than 2 TB,
    > support more primary partitions
    mainly higher security*, preventing boot sector viruses or rootkits or kernel / bootloader / driver obfuscation as they are unsigned code (should be) -

    faster boot times

    *there are some security flaws in the secure boot implementation. Please make sure to update keep your BIOS updated, this can also address other vulnerabilities like Intel ME (SA00078, SA00086) or Spectre V2 (or later).
    Bitlocker users: Do not update your BIOS firmware without pausing Bitlocker on Drive C.


    Drawbacks:
    only 64-bit Windows OS support (have heard it does work with 32bit Win 10 but would not try).
    not compatible with all Linux bootloaders
    not compatible with OS older than Windows 8.1 / UEFI boot with Windows 7 is possible without secure boot only. Windows 8 is Vista 2.0 - so this was a tricky mess, hence it is out of support anyway.


    How to step up from legacy boot to UEFI boot / secure boot:
    disclaimer: UEFI boot can also be used without secure boot enabled but UEFI boot is mandatory to enable secure boot not vice versa.


    How to check if you use UEFI and secure boot disabled:
    press windows key > type msinfo32 > press enter > secure startup is "yes" when secure boot is enabled and active


    Before you begin / system requirements:

    -Check your Harddisk / SSD
    How to check if your Drive C is MBR or already using UEFI
    press Windows key + X > click Disk management > right click disk that contains drive C - if there an greyed out caption convert to GPT you are on the right way. if a greyed-out caption says convert to MBR, you are already done and only need to check if secure boot is enabled, too.


    - Check your GPU (graphics card):
    How to check if your GPU is compatible with UEFI / secure boot:
    Download and run GPU-Z from the official site. Doublecheck whether the UEFI checkbox is checked. If it is not checked it might be there is a GPU bios update available (e.g. 670 series). some cheaper models of the GeForce 600 series DO NOT support UEFI boot and cannot be flashed. Contact your GPU vendor if unsure BEFORE converting.
    Rule of thumb: just because your BIOS is capable of enabling UEFI boot it doesn't mean your GPU is.


    - Check your Windows version
    How to check your Windows version:
    press Windows key > type winver > press enter

    -Make sure it is 64 bit
    How to check your Windows installation architecture
    press Windows key + X > System Type = 64 bit
    If you end up here being on 32 bit you do not need the conversion but need to completel reinstall Windows with an activated UEFI / secure boot. it is not possible to switch from 32bit to 64bit. You do NOT need a new license code for this switch.

    - Get / have an official Windows 10 ISO file
    Where to get a Windows ISO:
    https://www.microsoft.com/software-download/windows10 > download for the Media creation tool. If you have 1703 you can also download 1709 iso or later for the conversion process (and later in-place upgrade)

    Advisory: This conversion is a one-way road for Microsoft. There is no Microsoft tool that can do the other way around. Without 3rd party tools you cannot undo this change and you would need to reinstall your Windows in legacy mode to get there. for the conversion itself you do not loose any data. Anyway, I recommend having a valid backup, and would like to recommend using Acronis True Image as a MVP for this product, but you also can use Macrium or whatever product you trust.


    How to convert:

    Given your Windows boot drive was initialized as MBR you can assume legacy boot or a compatibility mode (CSM) is enabled

    You have checked your graphics card BIOS and eventually standalone RAID / Storage controller (except integrated Intel RST) etc supports UEFI boot

    The Windows version you are running is 1703 or later, go on with the real procedure which is easy and straight foward.

    Use Rufus (new 3.0 is great and create a stick with Windows 10 1703 or later ISO using UEFI mode
    Restart your PC > enter BIOS (each vendor has a different shortcut but mainly it is Del or Esc or F2 or F10 as soon you see the Logo) and Enable UEFI / Secure boot in BIOS.
    in some BIOSes it is called UEFI boot in other it is called CSM. if it is CSM you should not set CSM to auto but disabled for this case. Secure boot settings are always elsewhere in the BIOS different from that setting.
    Boot from the USB drive to Windows recovery - if your PC fails to boot at this time it is likely your GPU is not compatible with UEFI.
    On the Setup Welcome screen > press Shift + F10 > opens a cmd prompt. You have elevated rights here by default
    type mbr2gpt /? to get familiar with the command

    mbr2gpt /validate - if you face issues try mbr2gpt /disk:0 /validate
    mbr2gpt /convert
    Again, this action cannot be undone without 3rd party tools! it won't delete any data but will render your system unbootable if the requirements are not set.

    On success reboot Windows will appear as Windows Boot Manager in the boot device list.
    Else you are done and Windows 10 will now boot with UEFI and Secure boot enabled or you are done with your nerves or both.
    Wish you the best luck!
    Last edited by alQamar; June 17, 2018 at 04:51 AM. Reason: some improvements
    NEW: Total War Saga: Britannia benchmark thread - last update: 10.05.2018
    HOW-TO-step-up-from-MBR-CSM-LEGACY-BOOT-to-UEFI-GPT
    Many of my past contributions in the time from 2011-2017 will contain content that now show broken links. Unfortunately I had to delete all pictures linked on TWC that were hosted on imageshack.us. Read why
    If you are missing anything of interest, please let me know. Sorry for any inconvinience caused.

  2. #2
    ♔Greek Strategos♔'s Avatar BEARDED MODERATION
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    Default Re: HOW-TO: step up from MBR CSM / LEGACY BOOT to UEFI / GPT

    Extremely useful post. I'm using UEFI and Secure boot in 2 of my systems already with no issues whatsoever.Some people may find the process a bit confusing but I'm sure your guide will make it much easier for them.
    I didn't know that you proposed it, that's great.

    PS
    It seems I can't rep you again. So next time.
    Last edited by ♔Greek Strategos♔; June 16, 2018 at 12:58 PM.

  3. #3
    alQamar's Avatar Citizen
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    Default Re: HOW-TO: step up from MBR CSM / LEGACY BOOT to UEFI / GPT

    Hi Greek thank you. I hope it can get stickied. I did this writeup in my role as Acronis MVP and I can also use it for my collegues so indeed there is more use than just TWC. It feels like this place has become very quiet since the Rome 2 controverse and Warhammer. Maybe because CA has stopped posting here, don't they?
    NEW: Total War Saga: Britannia benchmark thread - last update: 10.05.2018
    HOW-TO-step-up-from-MBR-CSM-LEGACY-BOOT-to-UEFI-GPT
    Many of my past contributions in the time from 2011-2017 will contain content that now show broken links. Unfortunately I had to delete all pictures linked on TWC that were hosted on imageshack.us. Read why
    If you are missing anything of interest, please let me know. Sorry for any inconvinience caused.

  4. #4
    ♔Greek Strategos♔'s Avatar BEARDED MODERATION
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    Default Re: HOW-TO: step up from MBR CSM / LEGACY BOOT to UEFI / GPT

    That's good to know buddy. Yep I think you right, but maybe we could stir things up a little. I'm thinking of various guides or tips and tricks etc that could be helpful and practical. I'll have more time to do it during the next month or so. We could discuss it further at a later point and maybe cooperate if you're free ofc.

  5. #5
    alQamar's Avatar Citizen
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    Default Re: HOW-TO: step up from MBR CSM / LEGACY BOOT to UEFI / GPT

    I can try I am at recovery at the moment that's why I have any time. But you are very active here

    Gesendet von meinem SM-G930F mit Tapatalk
    NEW: Total War Saga: Britannia benchmark thread - last update: 10.05.2018
    HOW-TO-step-up-from-MBR-CSM-LEGACY-BOOT-to-UEFI-GPT
    Many of my past contributions in the time from 2011-2017 will contain content that now show broken links. Unfortunately I had to delete all pictures linked on TWC that were hosted on imageshack.us. Read why
    If you are missing anything of interest, please let me know. Sorry for any inconvinience caused.

  6. #6
    ♔Greek Strategos♔'s Avatar BEARDED MODERATION
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    Default Re: HOW-TO: step up from MBR CSM / LEGACY BOOT to UEFI / GPT

    Quote Originally Posted by alQamar View Post
    I can try I am at recovery at the moment that's why I have any time. But you are very active here

    Gesendet von meinem SM-G930F mit Tapatalk
    I'm sorry about that, get well soon buddy. No problem, feel free to reach me anytime.

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