CHECK CURRENT INSTALLATION
If you already have the OS installed, before you continue you can first check to see if your current install is a native UEFI install. If it is already set up, then you are set, if not, then you are going to need to do a re-installation.
To check your current install we are going to use Disk Management.
Open Disk management by typing it into search and choosing the “Create and format hard disk partitions” option.
Once loaded look for your C: partition, if you have a 100MB (EFI System Partition) on the disk your C: partition is on, then you already have a UEFI/GPT install. All you need to do is make sure that Ultra Fast boot is enabled in your UEFI and you can skip ahead to the ‘Finish Install And System Setup’ section.
ENABLE ULTRA FAST/FASTBOOT IN UEFI
If you are doing a clean install because it is that time of the year or your current installation isn’t a native UEFI install, the first thing we want to do before we install Windows is set our UEFI boot mode to Ultra Fast. We want to have this already set as we don’t want to risk not doing a native UEFI installation.
BOOT FROM YOUR INSTALL MEDIA
In order to boot and do a UEFI install properly you must boot off of a UEFI: option. This could typically be a Windows DVD installer or USB installer. As you can see in the picture below we have a UEFI: USB option with our Windows 8.1 ISO on.
***If you want to use a USB you can simply extract/copy contents of your Windows 8 ISO or DVD installer onto the root a FAT32 formatted USB and mark that partition as active in disk management. It is important that your USB is formatted to FAT32 or else the UEFI shell may not boot off of it for a UEFI install and just do an MBR install, however, some motherboard UEFIs can boot off of a NTFS formatted USB for a native UEFI install, like our ASRock motherboards. In this case we could also use the Windows USB/DVD Download Tool instead.
WIPE THE DRIVE CLEAN
Once the Windows installer is loaded we want to make sure that the drive we are installing to is blank so that Windows will partition it properly as a GPT drive. This is quite simple to do. Before you click install or anything press Shift + F10 at the same time. Command prompt should now be open. Do the following steps to clear off all partitions on the drive.
- Type diskpart, hit Enter
- Type list disk, hit Enter
- Type select disk X (X being the drive you are installing to), hit Enter
- Type clean, hit Enter
- Type exit, hit Enter
- Type exit, hit Enter again
CHOOSE ADVANCED INSTALL AND CREATE THE PARTITIONS
Once the drive is clean you may continue through the installer until you get to where it asks you to do an upgrade install or Advanced install.
You will now see the option to choose your blank drive to install to. Before clicking next, select your drive and click the New button. It should automatically create the four following partitions:
- Recovery – Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) Tools
- System – Extensible Firmware Interface System Partition or ESP
- MSR (Reserved) – Microsoft Reserved Partition
- Primary – Windows and Data
This will tell you that the system has booted to a UEFI boot and things are going to install properly.
You may now continue with your installation.
FINISH INSTALL AND SYSTEM SETUP
Once everything is complete install your motherboard drivers, run Windows update and then check to see that the Windows fast startup option is enabled. To check this setting simply:
- Go to Control Panel
- Click System and Security
- Click Power Options
- In the left side panel click “Choose what the power button does”
Here you should see under Shutdown settings that it has a check box checked next to Turn on fast startup (recommended). If it isn’t checked go to the top of the page and click “Change settings that are currently unavailable” and check off the check box and save changes.
OPTIMIZATIONS AND TWEAKING
To get some more responsiveness out of your system you may want to check out our Windows Optimization Guide where you will find a plethora of tweaks and settings to mess with to get your system running in tip-top shape!
Now, let’s get onto actually testing the different UEFI fast boot settings to see if changing them will actually make a difference and if so, by how much.
Continue on to the next page for Test Results and Final Thoughts.