By Ailsa / Last Updated August 2, 2019

What is GPT disk?

The GPT is short for GUID Partition Table, introduced as part of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) initiative. GPT provides a more flexible mechanism for partitioning disks than the older Master Boot Record (MBR) partitioning scheme that was common to PCs. Learn more…

GPT Protective Partition issue

Symptom: When you plug Windows XP 32-bit Operating System with an internal or external hard drive, the data on drive is inaccessible and in Disk Management it recognizes the disk as a GPT Protective Partition. Right-click on it, there is no available options in the drop-down menu. In other words, the drive cannot be partitioned or formatted under the circumstances.

GPT Protective Partition

Reason: The internal or external hard drive was previously configured as a GPT partition in either a Windows or Macintosh computer. Because 32-bit version of Windows XP cannot read, write, and boot from GPT disk. It will only see GPT Protective partition (the Protective MBR). The EE partition will not be mounted or otherwise exposed to application software.

Solution: Diskpart command-line utility is a traditional way to access GPT Protective Partition by removing GPT disk from the current in-focus disk, however, it is a data destructive process. Nowadays, AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional allows you to access GPT Protective Partition by converting to MBR partition and ensure data integrity.

Convert GPT Protective Partition to MBR partition without data loss

The following instruction provides the steps to change a hard drive connected in an existing Windows XP 32-bit Operating System from GPT Protective Partition to MBR partition while keeping data safe.

Note: MBR disk supports only four partition table entries. Therefore, the solution only applies to the hard drive previously configured as at most four GPT partitions.

Step1: Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. Then, click "Convert to MBR Disk" in the left navigation.

Convert Data Disk To Mbr

Step2: In the pop-up window, click "OK" to convert disk from GPT to MBR.

Ok To Mbr Data Disk

Step3: Click Apply and Proceed to commit operation.

Apply To Mbr Data Disk

Step4: The operation requires rebooting. After restarting computer, you will find "GPT Protective Partition" issue has been solved. You can access data from the partition again.

GPT Protective Partition Problem Solved

Apart from the conversion from GPT disk to MBR, AOMEI Dynamic Disk Manager also allows you to resize dynamic disk, extend dynamic system volume, expand/shrink/move dynamic mirrored partition, convert dynamic disk to basic and vice versa, add drive to software RAID 5, remove drive from software RAID 5, move volume slice, etc.