MBR to GPT

1 step to convert MBR disk to GPT without data loss

Nowadays, hard disk size becomes larger and larger, it is common to use 2TB to 4TB HDD for personal computers. To use more than 2TB space, you must convert the MBR disk to GPT. Together with other advantages, many people need to convert disk from MBR to GPT in an easy way. Windows built-in Disk Management utility can help you convert, but you have to delete all partitions in the MBR disk first.

Is there a way to convert MBR hard drive to GPT without deleting partitions or losing any data? Yes, of course. In this article, I’ll show you how to convert MBR disk to GPT disk on Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP with free MBR to GPT converter fast and safely.

MBR to GPT

What is MBR disk?

Master Boot Record (MBR) disks use the standard BIOS partition table. It is located on the first sector of a disk.

A master boot record consists of three major pieces: the master partition table, the disk signature, and the master boot code. To a non-system MBR disk, the boot code may be blank, but there must be master partition table. There are maximum 4 entries in the master partition table, so you can create maximum 4 Primary partitions, to create more than 4 partitions, one of the entries will be assigned to the Extended partition.

What is GPT disk?

GUID Partition Table (GPT) disks use Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI).

GPT replaces the clunky old MBR partitioning system with something more modern. It’s called GUID Partition Table because every partition on your drive has a “globally unique identifier” or a random string so long that every GPT partition on earth likely has its own unique identifier.

How to identify if the disk is MBR or GPT?

There are two ways to identify the disk type by native Disk Management and 3rd party software.

In Disk Management:

1. Right click this disk and select Properties:

Disk properties

2. Switch to Volume tab in the pop-up window, this disk is GPT.

Volume properties

To a MBR disk, the Partition style is shown as:

MBR disk

Why convert MBR to GPT?

Better than MBR disk, GPT disk has some advantages including:

1 The maximum partition size of an MBR disk is 2TB, but GPT disks allow 9.3ZB (over 9 billion TB) .

 MBR disk only allows four Primary partitions and requires an Extended partition be built to hold other Logical partitions if you want to create more than 4 drives. Windows operating systems can have up to 128 partitions on a GPT drive without the need to build Extended partition.

3 Another way GPT outperforms MBR is how easy it is to recover from corruption. MBR disks store the boot information in one place, which can easily be corrupted. GPT disks store this same data in multiple copies across the hard drive to make it much easier to repair. GPT partitioned disks and can even identify issues automatically because it periodically checks for errors.

4 GPT is supported through UEFI, which is intended to be a replacement to BIOS.

How to convert MBR disk to GPT?

As you see in the screenshot of Disk Management above, there is an option “Convert to MBR Disk”, but it is greyed out. To enable this option in Disk Management, you have to delete all partitions in the disk. Obviously, it is a BAD idea to do this. There is free partition software to help convert MBR disk to GPT without losing data.

Download NIUBI Partition Editor Free, right click the disk and select “Convert to GPT disk“.

Convert to GPT

Click Yes to confirm.

Confirm

This MBR disk is converted to GPT.

Tip NIUBI Partition Editor is working in virtual mode, to convert real disk, you need to click Apply on top left to execute.

Converted to GPT

It finish in several seconds.

Watch the video how to convert MBR to GPT disk without data loss:

In Summary

Windows native Disk Management can’t convert MBR disk to GPT except you delete all partitions in it. To convert disk from MBR to GPT without losing data, you need free partition software such as NIUBI Partition Editor. Besides converting disk, it helps convert Primary partition from/to Logical, convert NTFS partition to FAT32. As disk partition management software, it helps you do many other operations.

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How to convert MBR disk to GPT without losing data?
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