I have a win 10 pro x64 system running a GPT HDD. GPT mandates 64 bit systems and a win 32 bit system cannot exist in the presence of GPT disks. I want to run a win 10 pro 32 bit system in a VM such as Virtual Box. Can I specify the virtual disk as an MBR drive which would allow the 32 bit system to install. I've hunted through the Virtual Box manuals but I can't find an answer.

I'm asking the question because I can't just go ahead and do it. I have to do a fair bit of work adjusting partitions first which I don't want to do if it's a fail. The reason for the 32 bit system is I have a 16 bit program from circa 1994 that I need to run. Yes, it does run on win 10 on another machine right now but I would like to get rid of this machine.

  • "GPT mandates 64 bit systems and a win 32 bit system cannot exist in the presence of GPT disks" - where did you get this idea? – Jamie Hanrahan Nov 28 '18 at 14:32
  • If you're just talking about the disk containing the boot volume, then yes. But 32-bit Windows can use GPT data disks just fine. – Jamie Hanrahan Nov 28 '18 at 14:43
  • Jamie, thanks for your clarification. I did try to install 32 bit Win 10 to a GPT partition on a UEFI system and got a consistent refusal from the Windows installer indicating cannot install on this disk. The installer was quite happy to install a 64 bit Win 10 to the same partition. I then made some incorrect assumptions. I have just read that some manufacturers limit which architectures can be run. This may be my problem. – Bob Denton Nov 28 '18 at 19:46

You are fine to create the virtual machine. The virtual machine host software, such as VirtualBox, will create a virtual hard disk. This disk is simply a file on the host's disk. The virtual machine does not know or care what the host's partition type or file system are, as the host software is the application accessing the file. This will allow you to create a MBR partition on the virtual disk.

  • Your answer confirms what I thought to be the case. I'll have a go at doing the changes but it may take me several weeks to complete the task. – Bob Denton Nov 28 '18 at 14:32

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