Answered: Can MBR and GPT on Same Disk?

MBR and GPT are two different partition tables. Many users are puzzled and asked whether they can mix MBR and GPT on same disk. So, we share this article to clear all doubts about the MBR and GPT.


By Emily / Updated on May 12, 2023

Share this: instagram reddit

Can you mix MBR and GPT on same disk?

Before figuring out whether you can use MBR and GPT on the same hard drive, it is necessary to learn what are MBR and GPT. They are two different partition styles for the hard drive. As we all know, there must be partitions on the hard disk before we store any data on it. However, only a few users know that a hard disk must be initialized to a certain partition style (MBR or GPT) prior to divide it into partitions.

Partition Style

So, it is obvious that one disk can use MBR or GPT, but not both. In other words, it is not possible to mix MBR and GPT on same disk. What you can use on a same disk is the file systems (NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, Ext4, Ext3, Ext2,etc), since they are for a specific partition. For example, you can create a NTFS partition, a FAT32 partition and other partitions of different file systems.

What makes MBR and GPT different and which is better?

The above content gives the answer to “can GPT and MBR exist on the same disk”. Now that it is not possible and use MBR and GPT partition style on the same disk, then you might wonder what are their differences, or which one to choose when asked to make a choice during disk initialization. That’s what we will talk about next.

MBR, short for Master Boot Record, is an old partition style, but has better compatibility with some old operating systems like XP, Vista and all 32-bit Windows operating systems. GPT, short for GUID Partition Table, is a relatively modern partition style, but it can only work with 64-bit operating system. The OS compatibility differences only matter when you initialize a system hard drive. That is to say, no need to consider such differences when it comes to initializing the data disk.

GPT OS compatibility

Apart from the OS compatibility, there are also some other different features. For example, MBR disk only supports up to 2TB in size while GPT could support up to 18EB. So, if your MBR disk is larger than 2TB, the rest space will be shown as unallocated space in Disk Management and cannot be used to create a new partition or add into other partitions. Furthermore, the MBR disk can contain up to 4 primary partitions while GPT disk can hold up to 128 primary partitions.

So, which one is better, MBR or GPT, depends on your requirements. If you are running an old OS or planning to install any 32-bit operating system, go for MBR, otherwise, choose the GPT. If your hard disk is over 2TB, choose GPT and you can make the fullest use of the large disk.

Further study: convert MBR/GPT without data loss

Although you can mix both MBR and GPT on same disk, you can make a conversion when necessary. The most common tools are Windows snap-in Disk Management and DiskPart.exe. But they can only convert an empty disk to MBR/GPT and it is required to delete all existing partitions before conversion. Hence, you will lose everything on the target disk if any disk or volume backup has not been made beforehand. Besides, you cannot convert the system disk within Windows because it is not possible to delete the boot drive when Windows is running.

To evade data loss and other inconveniences, its a wise choice to turn to a third-party conversion like AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. It is able to convert either data or system hard drive to MBR/GPT. Moreover, it can finish the conversion without removing any existing partitions or data. Now, you can download the demo version and have a try. Next, we will show how to convert a system disk from MBR to GPT without data loss.

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

Step 1. Install and launch the software. Right-click the disk and choose Convert to GPT” or click the disk and choose "Convert to GPT" from the right column.

Convert to GPT

Step 2. Click OK to confirm the operation.


Step 3. Click Apply and then Proceed to commit the pending operation.


★Notes for system disk conversion:
Converting MBR to GPT, or GPT to MBR requires the boot mode switch (Legacy to UEFI, or UEFI to Legacy).
The 32-bit Windows OS cannot work with GPT-based system disk.
If you cannot boot into Windows successfully for some reason, you can make a bootable media and convert MBR and GPT without loading operating system.


In this article, we share almost everything about MBR and GPT, not just whether you can use MBR and GPT on same disk. If you want to make a conversion someday like preparing to upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 11, the AOMEI Partition Assistant is a good tool. In addition to the conversion feature, it even can clone MBR disk to GPT disk, migrate OS between MBR and GPT disk, recover lost partitions, and more. For Windows Server users, it also comes with the Server edition.

Emily · Staff Editor
Emily is an English editor of AOMEI Technology; she has a great passion for providing easy solutions for people to tackle with all disk or partition management problems. In addition to writing articles about disk/partition management, she also edits great tutorials on how to back up and restore disk for data security. In her spare time, she loves to learn computer skill to improve herself or stay with her family to enjoy a good day.