By Cherry / Last Updated January 19, 2022

You cannot access the GPT protected partition

“Recently, I put a hard drive to my computer as an external hard drive. But I cannot open, read or access the hard drive in Windows. When I try to find a way to solve the problem, I found that it is shown as “GPT Protective Partition” in Disk Management, which I do not know why it happens and how to deal with. Is there anyone who can help me get rid of such a problem and use the hard drive properly?”

GPT Protective Partition

What is a GPT protective partition?

Before we start to solve the problem, it is necessary to learn what is GPT protective partition is.

GPT, the short of GUID Partition table, is a standard for the layout of the partition table on a physical storage device used in a desktop or server PC. Compared with the MBR partition style, the GPT provides a more flexible mechanism for partitioning disks, but it requires your computer motherboard to support UEFI/EFI mode. According to the official news from Microsoft, Windows 11 system will only support UEFI mode to boot.

UEFI is applied on most Windows OSes, but excluding the Windows 32-bit operating system. The GPT disk is supported by 64-bit operating systems including Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, and Windows Server 2003 SP1, Windows 2008, etc. The 32-bit Windows XP and Windows 2003 don’t support GPT disk.

▶ Reasons for the appearance of GPT protective partition:

1. The current Windows OS doesn't read or support GPT disk.
If you plug in a GPT hard drive on a Windows 32-bit XP computer, due to the compatibility, it may be in a normally “Healthy” state, but show you “GPT Protective Partition” in Disk Management.

2. Some disk errors.
Some internal disk errors might also bring GPT protective partition on the disk.

3. Create one or more GPT protective partitions manually for special purposes.
People mostly use GPT protective partition on servers to prevent others from accessing sensitive data or to provide redundancy for critical files.

What pissed you off is when you right-click the GPT Protective Partition, you’ll find there is no choice for you in the menu, and you have nothing to deal with it; you cannot open, read, or access the GPT Protected Partition

How to convert GPT protective partition to MBR

1. Convert GPT protective partition to MBR via Diskpart

However, don’t worry now since next, we will show you how to solve this by converting GPT protective partition to MBR.

As we can see, you can do nothing to the GPT protective partition with Windows Disk Management. But, you can try another Windows built-in disk manager: DiskPart.exe tool to convert this GPT protective partition. Specific steps are listed as follows:

Tip: To convert GPT protective partition to MBR without data loss, you have to back up necessary files before conversion since DiskPart can only convert an empty disk to MBR/GPT. After conversion, you can restore the backup to the MBR disk.

Step 1. Click Start, type cmd in the search box, right-click the program and click Run as administrator. It will pop up a command prompt.

Step 2. In the Command Prompt, type "diskpart" and press "Enter". When the diskpart command prompt opened, you can remove GPT protective partition with a few commands:

▪ list disk (This command will list all drives on your computer.)
▪ select disk n (n refers to the number of the disk that you want to remove the GPT protective partition from), it will show you “Disk n is now the selected disk”.)
▪ clean (It will erase all data on the hard drive.)
▪ convert mbr (Convert the selected disk to MBR partition style)

Convert Mbr

Step 3. Type “exit” to close the diskpart.exe and type “exit” again to close the command prompt.

After that, you can go to Windows Disk Management to see the result after removing GPT protective partition. The question is this method of removing the GPT protective partition requires you to delete all partitions on the disk. 

2. Convert GPT protective partition to MBR without data loss

Well, is there any way that can solve the GPT protective partition error without deleting partitions or losing data? AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional is a great hard drive partition manager. It can help you convert the disk between GPT and MBR without deleting partitions or even losing data. And it supports Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10/11, both 32 bit and 64 bit.

Before using it to convert GPT protective partition to MBR, you need to do something first:

Before using it to convert GPT protective partition to MBR, you need to do something first:
▶ To avoid some accidents like power failure that cause data loss, you can use some data backup software to backup the hard drive

Download ProDemo Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step 1. Install AOMEI Partition Assistant, launch it on your Windows PC. It will show you the basic situation of your hard drives on its main interface. Select the GPT protective partition, right-click it and select "Convert to MBR Disk".

Convert system disk to GPT

Step 2. It will pop up a dialog to confirm the operation. Click "OK".

OK

Step 3. When the page returned to the main interface, click "Apply" to execute the operation.

Apply

When the progress reaches 100%, close the program, and the GPT protective partition has already been changed into MBR without data loss. And you can open, read and use it on your 32 bit Windows normally.

If you are managing a dynamic disk, you can use the feature of Dynamic Disk Manager which allows you to manage dynamic disk and volume safely and easily. After you launch it, you can resize dynamic disk, move dynamic mirrored partition, convert dynamic disk to basic, move volume slice, etc. All of these functions will help you to manage your dynamic disk conveniently.

Launch Dynamic Disk Manager

Summary

In this post, we show 2 ways that you can use to convert GPT protective partition to MBR for accessing it. Well, if there is no important data on the hard drive, you can use Diskpart to remove GPT protective partition; if you want to convert GPT Protective partition to MBR without data loss, you can use the AOMEI Partition Assistant or Dynamic Disk Manager. Anyway, choose the way you need. AOMEI Partition Assistant is a pragmatic tool for Windows users, it has a Server edition to help Server users to clone disk, convert MBR to GPT disk, migrate OS...