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Sample: Configure BIOS/MBR-Based Hard Drive Partitions by Using Windows Setup

Updated: October 20, 2013

Applies To: Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2

You can add answer-file settings to automatically configure disk partitions during a Windows® installation. This topic describes how to configure disk partitions for a BIOS-based and master boot record (MBR)–based computer, as described in Configure BIOS/MBR-Based Hard Drive Partitions. This topic covers the following partition configurations:

  • Default configuration. Includes a system partition and a Windows partition. The following diagram shows the default configuration.

    Diagram of default partitions: System and Windows
  • Recommended configuration. Includes a system partition, a Windows partition, and a recovery image partition. The following diagram shows the recommended configuration.

    Diagram of partitions: Recovery, System, Windows

For new installations, Windows Setup prompts you to configure your partitions. If you select the default configuration, Windows Setup creates this partition configuration when the following conditions are true:

  • The computer does not already have a Windows partition. When you upgrade Windows from an earlier version, Windows Setup does not change the arrangement of your partitions.

  • The computer does not already have a system partition.

  • The computer does not already have three partitions.

  • The computer has sufficient disk space for the partitions.

To automate the configuration of system and Windows partitions, add the following settings to an answer file.

 

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration\Disk

DiskID = 0
WillWipeDisk = true

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration\Disk\
CreatePartitions\CreatePartition

Order = 1
Size = size in megabytes (for example, 350)
Type = Primary

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration\Disk\
CreatePartitions\CreatePartition

Extend = true
Order = 2
Type = Primary

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration\Disk\
ModifyPartitions\ModifyPartition

Active = true
Format = NTFS
Label = System
Order = 1
PartitionID = 1

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration\Disk\
ModifyPartitions\ModifyPartition

Format = NTFS
Label = Windows
Letter = C
Order = 2
PartitionID = 2

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\ImageInstall\OSImage\InstallTo

DiskID = 0
PartitionID = 2

XML Example

<DiskConfiguration>

  <Disk wcm:action="add">
    <DiskID>0</DiskID> 
    <WillWipeDisk>true</WillWipeDisk> 
    <CreatePartitions>
      <!-- System partition -->
      <CreatePartition wcm:action="add">
        <Order>1</Order> 
        <Type>Primary</Type> 
        <Size>350</Size> 
      </CreatePartition>

      <!-- Windows partition -->
      <CreatePartition wcm:action="add">
        <Order>2</Order> 
        <Type>Primary</Type> 
        <Extend>true</Extend> 
      </CreatePartition>
    </CreatePartitions>

    <ModifyPartitions>
      <!-- System partition -->
      <ModifyPartition wcm:action="add">
        <Order>1</Order> 
        <PartitionID>1</PartitionID> 
        <Label>System</Label> 
        <Letter>S</Letter> 
        <Format>NTFS</Format> 
        <Active>true</Active> 
      </ModifyPartition>

      <!-- Windows partition -->
      <ModifyPartition wcm:action="add">
        <Order>2</Order> 
        <PartitionID>2</PartitionID> 
        <Label>Windows</Label> 
        <Letter>C</Letter> 
        <Format>NTFS</Format> 
      </ModifyPartition>
    </ModifyPartitions>
  </Disk>
  <WillShowUI>OnError</WillShowUI> 
</DiskConfiguration>

<ImageInstall>
  <OSImage>
    <InstallTo>
      <DiskID>0</DiskID> 
      <PartitionID>2</PartitionID> 
    </InstallTo>
  </OSImage>
</ImageInstall>

To automate the configuration of system, Windows, and recovery image partitions, add the following settings to an answer file.

 

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration\Disk

DiskID = 0
WillWipeDisk = true

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration\Disk\
CreatePartitions\CreatePartition

Order = 1
Size = size in megabytes (for example, 350)
Type = Primary

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration\Disk\
CreatePartitions\CreatePartition

Order = 2
Size = size in megabytes (for example, 75000)
Type = Primary

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration\Disk\
CreatePartitions\CreatePartition

Order = 3
Size = size in megabytes (for example, 15000)
Type = Primary

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration\Disk\
ModifyPartitions\ModifyPartition

Active = true
Format = NTFS
Label = System
Order = 1
PartitionID = 1

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration\Disk\
ModifyPartitions\ModifyPartition

Format = NTFS
Label = Windows
Letter = C
Order = 2
PartitionID = 2

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration\Disk\
ModifyPartitions\ModifyPartition

Format = NTFS
Label = Recovery
Order = 3
PartitionID = 3

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\ImageInstall\OSImage\InstallTo

DiskID = 0
PartitionID = 2

XML Example

<DiskConfiguration>

  <Disk wcm:action="add">
    <DiskID>0</DiskID> 
    <WillWipeDisk>true</WillWipeDisk> 
    <CreatePartitions>

      <!-- System partition -->
      <CreatePartition wcm:action="add">
        <Order>2</Order> 
        <Type>Primary</Type> 
        <Size>350</Size> 
      </CreatePartition>

      <!-- Windows partition -->
      <CreatePartition wcm:action="add">
        <Order>3</Order> 
        <Type>Primary</Type> 
        <Size>75000</Size> 

      </CreatePartition>
    </CreatePartitions>

      <!-- Recovery image partition -->
      <CreatePartition wcm:action="add">
        <Order>1</Order> 
        <Type>Primary</Type> 
        <Size>15000</Size> 
      </CreatePartition>

    <ModifyPartitions>

      <!-- System partition -->
      <ModifyPartition wcm:action="add">
        <Order>1</Order> 
        <PartitionID>1</PartitionID> 
        <Label>System</Label> 
        <Letter>S</Letter> 
        <Format>NTFS</Format> 
        <Active>true</Active> 
      </ModifyPartition>

      <!-- Windows partition -->
      <ModifyPartition wcm:action="add">
        <Order>2</Order> 
        <PartitionID>2</PartitionID> 
        <Label>Windows</Label> 
        <Letter>C</Letter> 
        <Format>NTFS</Format> 
      </ModifyPartition>

      <!-- Recovery image partition -->
      <ModifyPartition wcm:action="add">
        <Order>3</Order> 
        <PartitionID>3</PartitionID> 
        <Label>Recovery</Label> 
        <Format>NTFS</Format> 
        <TypeID>0x27</TypeID>
      </ModifyPartition>

    </ModifyPartitions>
  </Disk>
  <WillShowUI>OnError</WillShowUI> 
</DiskConfiguration>

<ImageInstall>
  <OSImage>
    <InstallTo>
      <DiskID>0</DiskID> 
      <PartitionID>2</PartitionID> 
    </InstallTo>
  </OSImage>
</ImageInstall>

See Also

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