By Dervish / Last Updated March 9, 2022

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The difference between GPT disks and MBR disks

GPT (GUID Partition Table) and MBR (Master Boot Record) are two common partition styles in our life, they are used to storing various data on HDD/SSD. But they may be unfamiliar to computer beginners. Here is the basic information about GPT disks and MBR disks:

☞ MBR disk can only be divided into 4 primary partitions or 3 primary partitions + 1 extended partition, and the MBR maximum disk size is 2T. GPT has no limitation on partition and hard drive capacity. (Windows supports up to 128 partitions)
☞ MBR hard drive has better compatibility with the Windows system, and GPT is slightly worse.
☞ MBR disk is booted by BIOS, and GPT is booted by UEFI.
☞ MBR compatibility is better than GPT.
☞ GPT partitioned disks have redundant primary and backup partition tables for improved partition data structure integrity.

Setting the disk to GPT has gradually become the current mainstream trend, because Windows 11 requires to boot from UEFI if user upgrades to Windows 11 from the Windows previous versions. In other words, your system disk needs to be a GPT disk. If you still use MBR, then you need to convert MBR to GPT for Windows 11.

When to convert GPT to MBR?

As we learn from above, you may think GPT disks are superior to MBR disks in many aspects. However, for compatibility, we will still use the MBR partition style. You will need to convert GPT to MBR in following situations:

◉ If your computer is of Windows 95/98/ME, Windows NT4, Windows 2000, Windows 2003 32-bit, or Windows XP 32-bit version, it will not support GPT partitions.
◉ As system disk partition table, MBR applies to both Legacy BIOS, but GPT only applies to UEFI boot mode. It means MBR disks are compatible with more operating systems than GPT disks.
◉ When you plug an external hard drive to your computer, it shows as "GPT Protective Partition".

In these situations, what you should do is to find appropriate GPT to MBR converter software and convert GPT to MBR immediately.

How to use free GPT to MBR converter software step by step?

Since you are in a need of converting GPT to MBR, you must want to find out the best solutions to convert GPT to MBR without data loss. Here are some solutions I’d like to recommend. You are supposed to backup the disk before converting to guarantee no data loss in the first two solutions, while it is unnecessary in the third one.

Solution 1: Convert to MBR Disk via Windows Disk Management

Disk Management is a Windows native tool for users to perform some basic disk partition management tasks such as formatting/creating/deleting/extending/shrinking partitions. To free convert MBR disk to GPT disk via this tool, you need to first delete all partitions on the target MBR disk to make it an unallocated disk space, then you can complete this conversion.

1. Press the Win+R keys to open Run, type diskmgmt.msc in Run, and click on OK to open Disk Management.

2. Find the disk (ex: Disk 1) that you want to convert, right-click on each partition (volume) on the disk, and click Delete Volume until the disk shows as unallocated.

3. Right-click on the disk # (ex: Disk 1) box of the GPT disk you want to convert to MBR, and click Convert to MBR Disk.

4. You can now create a New Simple Volume on the unallocated MBR disk. You will specify volume size, assign drive letter or path and format partition step by step with the help of New Simple Volume Wizard.

Solution 2: Convert to MBR in Windows Command Prompt

Similar to Disk Management, Diskpart is also a Windows built-in tool for users to manage their disk partition. It also only supports converting an empty disk to GPT, so you need to delete all volumes on disk before using this free MBR to GPT converter.

1. Press Win+R together on your keyboard, type diskpart in the Run dialogue and press Enter to open Diskpart window.

2. In the Diskpart windows, then run the following commands in turn and press Enter after each one.

● list disk
● select disk 1
● clean
● convert mbr
● exit 

Solution 3: GPT to MBR conversion software free download

In the above two solutions, you have to back up the disk in case of losing data and delete all partitions or volumes on the disk before converting GPT to MBR. That sounds complicated. You may look for right GPT to MBR converter software to simplify the conversion process.

Here is GPT to MBR converter software free download: AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard Edition. You can convert GPT data disk to MBR without losing data with AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard Edition in the following steps:

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Tip: to convert system disk from GPT to MBR without data loss, please upgrade to AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional

Step 1. Launch AOMEI Partition Assistant. Right-click on the disk you want to convert and select "Convert to MBR Disk".

Convert to MBR

Step 2. Affirm the operation and click "OK" in the pop-up window.

OK

Step 3. Confirm "Pending Operations" and click "Apply" to execute the operation.

MBR Apply

Summary

To convert GPT to MBR without data loss, you should backup disk data first if you use Windows Disk Management and Command Prompt. But if free download GPT to MBR conversion software AOMEI Partition Assistant,  you can conduct GPT to MBR conversion while keep the data safe. Besides, AOMEI Partition Assistant Server is specially designed for Windows Server users, which can solve various partition problems of Server users.