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This disk is OCZ VERTEX 128GB SSD. It is formatted as GPT from OSX. The disk layout is,

   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *128.0 GB   disk1
   1:                        EFI                         209.7 MB   disk1s1
   2:                 Apple_RAID                         63.8 GB    disk1s2
   3:                 Apple_Boot Boot OS X               134.2 MB   disk1s3
   4:       Microsoft Basic Data ssdwin                  63.9 GB    disk1s4

I'm trying to install windows7 in the "ssdwin" partition but when i EFI Boot windows 7 64bit USB installer, it says,

Windows cannot be installed to this disk. The selected disk has a mbr partition table, On EFI system window can only be installed to GPT disks.

But my disk is GPT disk. any idea how i can recover from this ?

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up vote 46 down vote accepted

Did you happen to use Apple's Disk Utility to create a FAT filesystem in that to-be-Windows partition? If so, you converted the disk from a legal GPT disk into a hybrid MBR disk, which OS X sees as GPT and Windows sees as MBR. The solution in this case is to clear the hybrid MBR data. A number of utilities can do this. I'll describe how to do it with my own GPT fdisk (gdisk) utility:

  1. Download GPT fdisk from its Sourceforge page and install it. (Versions are available for Linux, OS X, and Windows. I'll assume you'll do this from OS X.) Alternatively, you could run it from a Linux emergency disc like Parted Magic.
  2. Launch gdisk on your disk by typing sudo gdisk /dev/disk1 in a Terminal window. (Change the device identifier if it's not as you presented earlier or if you use another OS for the job.)
  3. Type p to view the partition table to verify you're working on the correct disk. If not, type q to quit without saving your changes and try again with another device.
  4. Type x to enter the experts' menu.
  5. Type n to create a fresh protective MBR. Note that gdisk won't confirm a change; it'll just show you a new experts' prompt.
  6. Type w to save your changes. You'll be asked to confirm this action. Do so.

With any luck this will fix the problem. If it doesn't, though, you can use gdisk's v option (on any menu) to have gdisk look for partition table problems. It can fix some minor problems automatically, but other times you'll need to make explicit changes. See the GPT fdisk documentation on GPT repairs for details.

El Capitan Addendum:

Apple's OS X 10.11 ("El Capitan") includes a new feature, known as "rootless" or "System Integrity Protection," which makes it difficult or impossible to run certain types of utilities, including GPT fdisk. To be sure, this new feature is intended to improve security by making it harder for malware to take control of the computer or for users to accidentally damage their own systems; but it also causes problems if you really need to use GPT fdisk or other third-party tools. If Apple's own tools permit removing a hybrid MBR, I don't know how it's done with them, so AFAIK this task really does require bypassing this new security feature.

There are several ways to work around this problem, such as:

  • Use a non-OS X OS, such as an Ubuntu installer booted into its "try before installing" mode.
  • Hold down Command+R as you boot your Mac to launch the Recovery environment, in which this feature is disabled. In theory, you should be able to run gdisk in this environment, although you might need to adjust the PATH environment variable. (I've not tried this approach, so there may be hurdles I've not considered.)
  • Boot to the Recovery environment, open a Terminal window, type csrutil disable, and reboot into your regular environment. This action disables the rootless system. You can re-enable it by performing these steps but pass enable rather than disable to csrutil.

For more on the subject of the rootless environment, see this page.

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Rod, thank you so much for putting this up. I was having major issues with the same thing on a newly formatted 2013 Macbook Pro Retina. Couldn't get Win8 to install out of the box via the legit bootcamp Assistant method (I did not fiddle around with the disk utility). I still had the issue and following your tutorial to the T worked like a charm. Thanks again! You saved me a gzillion hours trying to get this to work. – saurabhj Sep 8 '13 at 3:34
These steps destroy the hybrid MBR data, but the hybrid MBR merely duplicates (in MBR form) one to three GPT partition entries. The GPT entries remain intact and accessible, so you should not lose access to any of your files. Of course, all this assumes that the partition tables are valid (or as "valid" as any hybrid MBR can be). If your partition tables are damaged and your hybrid MBR specifies partitions that are don't have GPT counterparts, then you'll lose those partitions. This would be a highly illegal and dangerous setup at the outset. – Rod Smith Mar 12 '15 at 0:23
Thanks so much @RodSmith! I tried it just now on an OSX 10.10.1 Yosemite on Macbook Pro 2012 for Windows 8.1 and it worked flawlessly. Your instructions are very helpful and the utility is just great. I'll be happy to buy you coffee sometime, let me know :) – MyPreciousss Mar 28 '15 at 2:30
Not only did GPT fdisk confirm a hybrid MBR, but using these instructions also fixed my "You need to format the disk..." prompt in Windows 7 for an external disk that could be read just fine in OS X and Ubuntu. Thanks! – Sirap Apr 18 '15 at 2:11
This was a lifesaver. In my case, BootCamp was responsible for creating the Hybrid MBR condition that was causing so many problems. After the fix I managed to do a native EFI triple-boot install on my system. – Evan Plaice Oct 9 '15 at 0:31

protected by bwDraco Jan 19 '15 at 18:45

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