On this page, you will learn the difference in MBR vs. GPT, and make a wise choice when initializing a hard disk. Besides, we will teach you how to make a safe conversion between MBR and GPT without losing data.
You might ask how to choose partition scheme: MBR or GPT when you initialize a disk for the first time in Windows. Many computer users do not know which one to choose since Windows does not provide extra useful information about them. But don’t worry. Here, we will offer an elaborate introduction of MBR vs GPT to help you make a wise final choice.
GPT is the abbreviation of GUID Partition Table, which is standard for the layout of the partition table on a physical hard disk, using globally unique identifiers (GUID). MBR is another kind of partition table. It is short for "Master Boot Record". Comparatively, the MBR is older than the GPT, thus, it's more compatible with some previous systems. While GPT is more suitable for later systems.
GPT disks have advantages of partition size, the number of partitions, and resilience. If a computer uses UEFI, it will only support GPT as the system disk, especially since Microsoft announced officially that Windows 11 system will only support GPT and UEFI. Thus, the GPT disk becomes one of the essential Windows 11 requirements. If you're thinking about upgrading your Windows 10 PC to Windows 11, it may be necessary to convert MBR to GPT at first.
MBR vs GPT: what's the difference?
An MBR disk can be basic or dynamic, just like a GPT disk can be basic or dynamic. Compared with an MBR disk, a GPT disk performs better in the following aspects:
▶ GPT supports disks larger than 2 TB in size while MBR cannot.
▶ The GPT disk partitioning style supports volumes up to 18 exabytes in size and up to 128 partitions per disk while the MBR disk partitioning style supports volumes up to 2 terabytes in size and up to 4 primary partitions per disk (or three primary partitions, one extended partition, and unlimited logical drives).
▶ GPT disk provides greater reliability due to replication and cyclical redundancy check (CRC) protection of the partition table. Unlike MBR partitioned disks, data critical to platform operation is located in partitions instead of unpartitioned or hidden sectors.
▶ GPT partitioned disks have redundant primary and backup partition tables for improved partition data structure integrity.
Usually, MBR and BIOS (MBR + BIOS), and GPT and UEFI (GPT + UEFI) go hand in hand. This is compulsory for some operating systems (eg. Windows), while optional for others (eg. Linux). When it comes to converting a system disk to a GPT disk, make sure that your computer’s motherboard supports UEFI boot mode.
How to change partition scheme between MBR and GPT in Windows PC?
After learning information about MBR VS GPT, you might need to make a conversion for the current partition style, from MBR to GPT, or GPT to MBR. Here in Windows, you have two ways to complete that, Windows built-in tools and third-party software.
① Convert to GPT/MBR disk via Windows built-in utilities (Data Loss)
With Windows Disk Management and Diskpart tools, you’re allowed to convert an EMPTY hard disk to MBR or GPT with ease. That is to say, you need to delete all existing partitions in the first place. Therefore, back up important data to a safe place in advance and then follow the steps below. Here takes convert to GPT using Diskpart for example.
Step 1. Press "Windows" + "R" simultaneously to lift the "Run" box. Input “diskpart” and press Enter.
Step 2. At the DISKPART prompt, input the following commands successively, and each command follows "Enter" pressing.
▪list disk ▪select disk n (where n is the disk number of target disk) ▪clean (this command will erase the entire disk) ▪convert gpt (or convert mbr) ▪exit
Note: You may not convert system disk to GPT under Windows environment since the system partition cannot be deleted when Windows is running. To change the system disk, you need to enter WinPE mode and perform the conversion.
② Convert to GPT/MBR without data loss via professional software (System Disk Included)
Since the Windows native tools can only convert an empty disk to MBR and GPT, it is not ideal for users who have stored lots of data on the target disk. Therefore, next, we’d like to show you a good way to convert MBR to GPT without data loss. That is using the third-party software: AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. The powerful hard drive manager allows you to convert between MBR and GPT on both system disk and data disk without deleting partitions in simple clicks. Here is a step-by-step guide.
In the first place, you can download AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional Edition Demo (only for simulation) from its official website. Install and run. Here we will take convert MBR to GPT for example.
Note: to avoid data loss caused by improper human operations and other unexpected issues (power failure...), it is better to back up everything you require.
Step 1. Right-click the MBR disk that you want to convert to GPT and choose Convert to GPT Disk.
Step 2. You'll be asked that "are you sure to convert the selected disk from MBR to GPT disk?". Click OK.
Step 3. To commit operation, please click Apply.
Notes: 1. A removable disk is also allowed to convert. 2. Converting system disk to GPT partition style requires 64-bit operating systems. Note that Windows XP 64bit can only use GPT disk for data storage. 3. After converting a system disk from MBR to GPT, or GPT to MBR, you have to change the boot mode from UEFI to BIOS, or Legacy BIOS to UEFI for a smooth boot.
Some FAQs on MBR and GPT
▶ Is Windows 10 GPT or MBR?
From the reliability and CRC protection mentioned before, it is suggested to use the GPT partition style if all other conditions are qualified.
▶ Should my SSD be MBR or GPT?
Usually, SSDs are used to install operating systems. All Windows operating systems can be installed on MBR disks yet some of them cannot be installed on GPT disk. Windows 8 and higher operating systems are required as shown in the first figure.
▶ Can UEFI boot MBR?
Yes. UEFI supports the traditional master boot record (MBR) of hard drive partition, but you may not use Legacy boot GPT on the contrary.
▶ When need to convert GPT to MBR disk?
Some situations need to convert GPT to MBR. One is like the problem - “the Selected Disk is of the GPT Partition Style” when people install Windows system. People can also convert GPT to MBR disk with the aid of AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional Edition.
Now, you should get an overall understanding of MBR VS GPT and know how to convert MBR to GPT, or GPT to MBR via different methods. All in all, with the AOMEI Partition Assistant software, you can easily and safely make conversions between MBR and GPT without losing anything important. It is a great partition converter, not only between MBR and GPT but also between FAT32 and NTFS, primary partition, and logic partition. It can even rebuild MBR when the master boot record is corrupted and causes boot failure.