Windows 8.1 installation woes… and resolution

This week, I got around to purchasing a Windows 8.1 license to finally give it a shot. The installation ended up being a 2 day nightmare, fighting with a Windows installer error.

My workstation was previously running a 64-bit copy of Windows 7, but in BIOS mode. To get the disk ready for UEFI/GPT, I ran the Windows 8.1 installer, going into the rescue mode command prompt, and followed this process:

Then, I rebooted and attempted to install Windows 8.1.

Every time I ran the install, I got Error Code 0x8007025D, which indicates that the installer cannot install certain files, or cannot find certain files.

After trying multiple USB sticks and downloading the ISO multiple multiple times, I was confident that the installation media wasn’t at fault.

Eventually, I realized that somehow, Windows couldn’t handle the state that my drive was in, and wasn’t creating the “Recovery”, “System”, and “Reserved” partitions before the OS/data partition.

To resolve this situation, I booted into a linux rescue disk and did the following:

  • “cat /proc/partitions” this can help figure out which device name was my OS drive … if that doesn’t make things clear quickly, there are other commands that may help, including “lsblk”
  • “dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX bs=1M count=100″ (where sdX is the name of the device from the previous command) – this zeroes out the first 100MB of the drive, including the partition table. This effectively makes it seem like a brand new drive to Windows installer. note: 100MB is indeed overkill, but that’s what I did.

I then installed Windows successfully in UEFI mode. Hopefully this helps save someone else in a similar situation some time!