What do GPT and MBR mean?
GPT and MBR are both partition styles found on hard drives, each partition style has its own unique characteristics.
☞ GPT, the modern standard layout for partition tables on the hard drives of newer systems that utilize UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) rather than BIOS. GPT, short for GUID partition table, technology allows you to create an unlimited number of partitions, however, in practice your OS will limit this to 128.
☞ MBR, short for Master Boot Record, utilizes the Legacy BIOS mode in order to be compatible with modern systems. Unlike GPT, MBR only allows you to create a maximum of four primary partitions or three primary partitions and one extended partition. However, you will find that MBR is compatible with a larger number of systems and setups than GPT.
Due to GPT and MBR's different features and functions, you will need to choose the correct boot mode (GPT or MBR) in order for your system to recognize the drive. What's more, Microsoft declaimed that Windows 11 system will only allow GPT and UEFI, thus people who want to upgrade their Windows 10 PC to Windows 11 may have to choose GPT.
Convert GPT to MBR using command prompt [Data Loss]
When users experience disk or partition problems that typically look to the built-in Windows tools to help them resolve the issues. These tools are by and large very useful and can assist you in converting between GPT and MBR in Windows 7, 8, and 10. Below is a guide on how to convert your drive using command prompt.
Warning data loss: This method will cause the data on your drive to be erased as the /clean command will be applied (step 4). Please do not use this guide unless you back up the disk first.
Backing up your data is the only way to ensure you don’t suffer from data loss when converting between GPT and MBR using command prompt.
Step 1. Click “Win + R”, type “cmd” in the Run window. If you want to convert GPT to MBR during installing Windows, you can press “Shift + F10” to bring out command prompt. After you open the cmd window, type “diskpart.exe” and click “Enter”.
Step 2. Type “list disk” and hit Enter.
Step 3. Type “select disk n” (n is the number of the disk you want to clean).
Step 4. Type “clean”. (This will cause data loss).
step 5. Type “select disk n” (n is the number of the disk you want to convert).
Step 6. Type “convert mbr”.
Step 7. Type “exit”.
Now, you can restore the backup image to the previous disk. Back up data ahead of time is the promise that you can convert GPT to MBR using command prompt without data loss. However, it makes things complicated.
Convert GPT to MBR without data loss using AOMEI Partition Assistant
As we have just discovered, the only way to avoid data loss when using command prompt to convert between GPT and MBR is to backup all of your data beforehand as it will delete all partitions during the conversion. As backing up and restoring your data can be a lengthy and time-consuming process, many users will prefer to use third-party software like AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional Edition to convert with losing data.
AOMEI Partition Assistant is compatible with many Windows operating systems such as Windows 7/8/10, Windows XP (for a full list please see the website). If you are running Windows Server OS like Server 2019, 2016, and more, please switch to AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.
Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. (You can download Professional Demo version to try at first.)
Step 2. Enter the main window, click the disk you want to convert, and select Convert to MBR Disk.
Step 3. Confirm that you want to proceed by clicking OK.
Step 4. Preview the pending operation under ‘Pending Operations’, if you want to proceed click Apply.
In the event you need to convert your drives in the future, AOMEI Partition Assistant allows users to change partition style between GPT and MBR when needed.
How to convert GPT to MBR during Windows 10/8/7 install?
Step 1. Create a bootable media in AOMEI Partition Assistant.
Step 2. Plug the USB drive, boot your computer and enter the BIOS (normally you can press, Del for desktops and F2 for laptops). In BIOS the change the boot sequence to make the USB drive the priority, and then press Enter to load the main page of AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional Edition.
You can now follow the above steps under ‘Convert GPT to MBR without losing data using AOMEI Partition Assistant’ to complete the conversion.
In summary, it is possible to convert from GPT to MBR without losing data by using command prompt, but you must backup your data first. If you choose not to backup your data or simply don’t want to due to the amount of time it takes, then you will unfortunately suffer data loss as the drive is wiped by the /clean command. However, by using AOMEI Partition Assistant you can convert directly between GPT and MBR without deleting the partitions or wiping the drive. AOMEI Partition Assistant also allows you to effortlessly convert the partition style during your Windows installation.
AOMEI Partition Assistant includes a whole range of useful functions when compared Disk Management. These include the ability to Convert FAT32 to NTFS without any data loss, Combine Partitions, Convert Logical to Primary partitions, Delete Extended Partitions, and Resize Partitions.