Install Windows Server 2008/2012 over an Existing RAID Array

How to install Windows Server on an existing RAID array greater than 2TB in size

Why is this a problem?

  • When installing Windows on UEFI-based PC's with RAID arrays you must partition your hard drives using GPT.
  • Traditional MBR-type drives are limited to 2TB in size.
  • GPT supports both larger drives and a greater number of partitions.
  • You must first reformat your drives using GPT before you can proceed with Windows Setup.

Follow these steps to wipe off the MBR partitions from your existing drives and convert them to GPT using Windows Setup:

  1. Place your Windows Installation media (USB/DVD) into your PC and then power it down.
  2. Boot the PC up again and press the appropriate key for your system to enter the BIOS menu. Depending on your PC, you may need to press one of the following: <F1>, <F2>, <DEL>, <ESC>. You should see an indication of which key to press when the system is first booting up. Look along the bottom of the screen for this information.
  3. Once in the BIOS menu, use the arrow keys to access the 'Boot' tab. Ensure that 'Boot List Option' is set to UEFI as opposed to Legacy BIOS.
  4. Arrow over to the Advanced tab. Set the First Boot Device to the appropriate installation media (USB or DVD).
  5. Press <F10> to 'Save and Exit' the BIOS. Your machine will reboot and present the Windows Setup tool to you.
  6. Press <Shift>+<F10> to open the Command Prompt from Windows Setup.
  7. Type in "diskpart" to use the diskpart tool.
  8. Identify the drive to reformat using "list disk".
  9. Select and reformat the disk (your single RAID-array volume in this case) using the following commands:
    1. "select disk <disk number>"
    2. "clean"
    3. "convert gpt"
    4. "exit"
  10. You may now close the command prompt window and continue with Windows Setup.
  11. Select 'Custom' as installation type.
  12. Select your single unallocated volume (which is now formatted properly using GPT).
  13. Click 'Next' and Windows will begin the installation over your existing RAID array.

Retrieved: Aug. 12, 2016

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