Should You Initialize Your Disk to MBR or GPT and Why?

What type should you initialize your disk? MBR or GPT? This article will tell you why and the difference between them. And how can you convert between MBR and GPT with AOMEI Partition Assistant.


By Michael / Updated on March 7, 2024

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I just bought a new hard disk and plugged it in computer, when I go into disk management it says that it needs to initialize the disk before Windows can recognize it and asked if I want to use either MBR (master boot record) or GPT (GUID partition table) as the partition style.”


Initialize disk for Windows 11

To select a partition style, you should know something first. What is the volume of your hard disk? If it is smaller than 2TB, you might as well initialize it to MBR. Because an MBR disk supports at most 2TB per partition.

If it is bigger than 2TB, you must initialize to GPT to ensure all of the disk space is usable, but you can’t always do it. You must make sure your motherboard with UEFI and your operating system supports GPT. And Microsoft officially declared that Windows 11 system only supports UEFI if you use the “Check for update” feature to upgrade to Windows 11 from Windows 10, people will have to choose a GPT disk for the Win 11 upgrade.

What is your disk used for? For storage or system? You can refer to the following chart for specific situations:

Operating System

Data Access

System Boot

Windows XP 32-bit

Not Support GPT

Not Support GPT

Windows XP 64-bit

Support GPT

Not Support GPT

Windows Vista 32-bit

Support GPT

Not Support GPT

Windows Vista 64-bit

Support GPT

Support GPT(Need UEFI)

Windows 7 32-bit

Support GPT

Not Support GPT

Windows 7 64-bit

Support GPT

Support GPT(Need UEFI)

Windows 8 32-bit

Support GPT

Not Support GPT

Windows 8 64-bit

Support GPT

Support GPT(Need UEFI)

What’s more, the MBR disk supports four primary partitions or three primary partitions and one extended partition. By contrast, the GPT disk supports theoretically unlimited partitions.

Should I initialize MBR or GPT? To sum up the above explanations, you can decide to initialize your disk as MBR or GPT in terms of your requirements.

What if you’re not satisfied with the current partitioning style and want to replace it with another one by converting GPT to MBR or MBR to GPT? When it comes to GPT MBR conversion, most people would think of Windows built-in Disk Management or DiskPart as free and capable of performing different operations in disk management. However, to make a GPT MBR conversion with these 2 utilities, you have to delete all partitions on the disk. Thus, you may suffer from data loss.

So, is there any easier way to convert between MBR and GPT without the need to delete all existing partitions? Here, I recommend AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, a powerful and easy-to-use third-party disk management utility, able to convert MBR to GPT or GPT to MBR without data loss. What’s more, other features like primary to logical partition conversion and NTFS FAT 32 partition conversion are also supported.

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Step 1. Install and launch the software, right-click the MBR disk you want to change, and then choose Convert to GPT.

Convert Data Disk to GPT

Step 2. In the pop-up windows, click OK to continue.

OK to GPT Data Disk

Step 3. Click Apply to operate and then your disk will be changed to GPT disk style.

Apply to GPT Data Disk

When you use AOMEI Partition Assistant to convert GPT to MBR or convert MBR to GPT, it provides a preview during the whole process. Once you want to stop the conversion, you can click “Undo” on the toolbar to cancel it. Thus decreasing accidental operations to the minimum degree. You can also backup your disk in advance just in case.

Should you initialize your disk as MBR or GPT? In terms of the post above, you should make your choice based on your requirements. And sometimes, you must make a conversion between MBR and GPT. So, a third-party MBR GPT conversion program AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional is introduced to help convert MBR to GPT or GPT to MBR without any data loss.

AOMEI Partition Assistant is a professional and easy-to-use partition tool. Besides converting between MBR and GPT. You can also use it to extend your system partition, rebuild MBR, split partition and check errors. More functions you can find from here.

FAQs about initializing disk MBR or GPT

Is GPT or MBR better?
MBR and GPT are two distinct designs that assist the system in managing your disk partitions. MBR is a disk partition standard that debuted in 1983 and is still in use today. MBR disks provide high compatibility with most operating systems. The MBR format disk has various restrictions. It can only handle disks up to 2TB and supports four primary partitions. However, with GPT disks, you can have more than four primary partitions per disk, up to 128 partitions.

2. Should my SSD use MBR or GPT?
In general, traditional BIOS supports just MBR, but UEFI supports both MBR and GPT. So, while deciding whether to use an MBR or GPT disk, consider OS support. Any operating system may be installed on the MBR drive. GPT partitioned disks may be used to store data in all Windows versions, however, booting is only supported in 64-bit editions on UEFI-based computers.

3. Should I select MBR or GPT?
If your disk is larger than 2TB and you wish to handle more than four primary partitions on a hard drive, you can format it as GPT. When deciding whether to utilize MBR or GPT, you need also to consider if your machine supports BIOS or UEFI. BIOS only supports the MBR, but UEFI supports both the MBR and GPT.

Michael · Staff Editor
Michael is a professinal editor of AOMEI editor team.