How to Convert External Hard Drive to GPT without Data Loss?

How to convert an external hard drive to GPT without data loss? Read on and you’ll know both why and how to do it with the best disk management program.


By Cherry / Updated on September 6, 2023

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Why should you convert external hard drive to GPT disk?

The hard drive can be divided into MBR and GPT. The MBR is the abbreviation of Master Boot Record, which starts the standard BIOS partition table, supports up to 2TB volume capacity. It only supports up to 4 primary partitions, which means if you want to create more partitions for storing different files when it already has 4 primary partitions, you have to convert one primary partition to an extended partition and within the extended one, you can create extra logical partitions.

However, the GPT, GUID Partition Table disk, use a unified extensible firmware interface (UEFI), supports disk more than 2TB, and you can have more than four primary partitions on the GPT disk.

mbr vs gpt

Why should you convert an external hard drive to GPT? Many users want to have more partitions to store different files. Thus, they want to convert their external hard drive to GPT so that they can create partitions more flexibly. There is another situation where users have to convert the external hard drive to GPT. Sometimes, users may find that their 3TB or 4TB external hard drive only showed 2TB in Disk Management, users only convert it into a GPT disk to make full use of the external hard drive.

Convert external hard drive to GPT with Disk Management

Since you have figured out why you need to convert the external hard drive to GPT, now, you need to know how to do it. The Windows OS has a built-in tool named Windows Disk Management. You can use it to convert your external hard drive to GPT.

Plugin the empty external hard drive and make sure it can be detected by the computer.

1. Right-click on “This PC” on the desktop and select “Manage”.

2. Select “Disk Management” under “Storage”.

3. Right-click on the MBR disk, right-click on it, and select “Convert to GPT Disk”.

Convert to GPT

Note: To change a master boot record disk into a GUID partition table disk with Windows Disk Management, you need to make a backup because you have to delete all existing partitions on the hard disk first. Otherwise, you’re unable to convert the disk to GPT using the Windows tool.

Convert external hard drive to GPT without erasing any data

AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is a good software utility that can convert MBR to GPT without deleting any data. Even there is much data on the external hard drive, you can convert it to GPT, which breaks out the limitation of the Windows built-in tool. Moreover, this powerful freeware also contains many other useful features in disk management like partition format, partition deletion, and MBR rebuild. If you want to convert a system disk from MBR to GPT or GPT to MBR, you should upgrade this AOMEI product to the Professional edition.

You can follow the steps below.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant, you will see its main interface. Right-click the removable disk and select “Convert to GPT”.

Convert Disk To GPT

Step2. Then, it will pop out a window to ask whether you want to convert MBR to GPT disk, click OK.


Step3. It will back to the main interface, and disk 2 has already been marked as GPT. Then, click Apply at the toolbar to submit the operation.

GPT Apply


How to convert an external hard drive to GPT? In this post, 2 ways are given. First, you can try Disk Management to get it done. However, to make the conversion successful, you have to delete all partitions on the disk first and thus, you will suffer from severe data loss. In this case, a better alternative is introduced – AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. With it, you can convert external hard drive from MBR to GPT in only a few clicks without the need to delete any partitions. If you are a Server user, you can try the Server edition because this edition is compatible with Windows Server from 2003 to 2022.

FAQs about converting external hard drive to GPT

Should an external hard drive be MBR or GPT?
Whether an external hard drive should be formatted as MBR (Master Boot Record) or GPT (GUID Partition Table) depends on your specific needs and the characteristics of the drive.

What are the advantages of using GPT for my external hard drive?
This question explores the specific benefits of GPT, such as support for larger storage capacities and improved data integrity, compared to the older MBR format.

Are there any potential data loss risks when converting to GPT, and how can I safeguard my files during the conversion?
If you choose Disk Management to convert disk, you will lose data. Only third-party tool supports external disk data-safe conversion. So we suggest you choose a professional tool like AOMEI Partition Assistant. 

Cherry · Staff Editor
Cherry is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore, hard disk & partitions management, cloud files transfer, website & database backup and so on for AOMEI. She enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, cooking, reading and so on. She takes most of time with her family when she is not working.