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Thank you for the thorough and informative response. If I could impose on you for one more bit of information, I'd ask this: How do I reformat this disk now, because it's like Kryptonite and no tool I've found will touch it.

Ray B.
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The key to your problem is "MBR".

That stands for "Master Boot Record". This is an obsolescent, but still extremely common, standard for how partition information will be stored on the disk. It allows only four "primary partitions", one of which can be done in a special format which essentially provides a second partition table so you can subdivide it into "extended partitions".

I'm absolutely certain it is pure coincidence that recent versions of Windows - at least Win8 and Win10 - in their standard installation scheme occupy four primary partitions. Producing exactly the problem you're experiencing, and incidentally making it impossible to install another OS alongside Windows on a drive that has an MBR.

The new standard for partition-information storage is GPT, which stands for "GUID Partition Table". "GUID" in turn stands for "Globally Unique Identifier". It has no functional limit on how many primary partitions a single drive can have. (I'm sure there IS a limit, but it's somewhere past 12 and may be "when the size of the partition table plus the size of all partitions eats up the entire device".) It's supported by any computer that has EFI firmware rather than BIOS, and some that have BIOS - however, MBR drives are common enough that EFI also supports them.

Aside from the limit on number of primary partitions and better handling of very large partitions, the main improvement IN GPT as compared to MBR is in how a specific partition is identified. In MBR it's something like "in this computer's SATA controller, the third device recognized, partition #2." Which is problematic with removable drives, such as USB drives. With GPT you can do things that way but it isn't recommended - each partition has its own GUID and you can use that instead.
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Thank you for the thorough and informative response. If I could impose on you for one more bit of information, I'd ask this: How do I reformat this disk now, because it's like Kryptonite and no tool I've found will touch it.

Ray B.
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Well, I'd hope that any partitioning tool that's running under Windows would refuse to mess up the Windows installation it's running in...

I see that you said in the OP that you did a fresh installation of Windows, which implies that you have installation media. This is good. (Anyone else following this thread: if you contemplate reinstalling Windows, then START by making sure you have the means to do so. BEFORE you bother looking for anything else.)

What I'd suggest is to download Linux Mint and create a boot medium (dvd or thumb drive) for it, and boot that up. The Cinnamon edition in particular looks a fair amount like Win7.

(At that point I'd just install Linux. But that's my choice. It may not be yours.)

In the menu, look in "Administration" for "GParted" - that's the partitioning tool. Then up in GParted's "Device" menu you can select "Create Partition Table" which has a bunch of options for what format to use - you want either "msdos" (which is what they call MBR, for some reason) or "gpt". And you can carve up the space however you like.

Note: writing a new partition table, a very quick operation, happens immediately. This makes sense because it has to happen before anything else relating to the partitioning of that drive.

But most other operations might be needed in any order, and some (moving a partition being the prime example) can take a long time. GParted doesn't do them immediately; instead it builds a list of instructions (and shows what the state will be after those instructions are done). Then when you click the right-hand one of the two arrows in the toolbar, it carries out those instructions in order without further intervention. You can walk away and forget about it until everything's done.
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This is what BIOS shows me:

https://ibb.co/nu2JmT

What changes, if any, can I make here to format a blank disk so I can start all over again with a fresh install on a new disk?

RayB.
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you need to start the installer.

Windows on a USB disk or DVD drive, CD Drive.

Your computer should start from it and then follow the instructions on the screen.
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VICTORY AT LAST!

My purpose for setting up a legacy BIOS was to enable me to use the entire disk. For example my 1TB drive that used but 30GB for the OS, had 900+GB left unformatted: an impenetrable block of kryptonite in which I was unable to create a simple partition regardless of what partitioning program I tied to use. The error message was "No MBR slots are available". I didn't need a bootable drive, just a simple drive for data storage. After days of frustration, I went into Windows Disk Management, which allowed for creation of a simple partition of any size I wished, just as it used to. Having established that, I then went ahead and reclaimed all my files from an exterior drive where I had them safely stashed, and after 10 days or so of scratching my head I have but one more reason to scratch it: trying to remember where was I when all this calamity struck.

Thanks for all the suggestions, just the same.

RayB
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