Installing Windows on UEFI-based Computers

Published: October 22, 2009

Updated: June 28, 2011

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2

This content applies to Windows 7. For Windows 8 content, see Windows Deployment with the Windows ADK.

This topic discusses how to install Windows® 7 and Windows Server® 2008 R2 on Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI)-based computers.

To install Windows onto a UEFI computer, you must configure your primary hard drive (example: hard disk drive or solid-state drive) with the GPT file structure. For information, see the topic: Understanding Disk Partitions.

In this topic:

Booting your computer to UEFI mode

Some UEFI platforms support booting into a BIOS-compatible mode, and it is not always apparent whether UEFI or BIOS is the default boot option. On these computers, you might be required to use the UEFI boot options to explicitly start in UEFI mode. Otherwise, Windows Setup might run in BIOS mode, which does not give you the advantages of UEFI. For more information, see How to Switch from BIOS-Compatibility Mode to UEFI Mode.

Installing Windows by using the Windows product DVD

You can install Windows® 7 or Windows Server® 2008 R2 by using the Windows product DVD. The Windows product DVD can boot in either BIOS mode or UEFI mode. When Windows boots and installs in UEFI mode, it configures the primary drive with the GUID Partition Table (GPT) file structure. To preconfigure a GPT partition structure by using an answer file, see examples in Create UEFI-based Hard-Disk Partitions by Using Windows SIM.

Installing Windows by capturing and applying Windows images

After installing Windows, you can generalize and capture an image, and apply it to other computers.

To prepare to capture or apply images, you must boot Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) in UEFI mode. Windows PE can boot in either BIOS mode or UEFI mode.

For Windows® Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE), the version of boot files must match the computer architecture. An x64 UEFI computer can only boot by using Windows PE x64 boot files. An x86 computer can only boot by using Windows PE x86 boot files. This is different from legacy BIOS. In legacy BIOS, an x64 computer can boot by using x86 boot files.

To apply images, you must boot in UEFI mode, and then prepare the partitions with the GPT file structure. For examples, see Sample: Apply Images on a UEFI-based Computer by Using ImageX.

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