By Michael / Last Updated March 15, 2022

Many people post a thread as follow on computer forums

“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.”

Error

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 disk space is usable, but you can’t always do it. You must make sure your motherboard with UEFI and your operating system support 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 own requirements.

What if you’re not satisfied with the current partitioning style and want to replace it with the other 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 for they’re free and capable of performing different operations in disk management. That’s true. However, to make a GPT MBR conversion with either of these 2 utilities, you have to delete all partitions on the disk ahead of time. Thus, you may suffer from data loss. In this case, you should back up the hard disk first.

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 Disk.

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 into 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 decrease 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.