There are 2 types of disk in Windows computers - MBR and GPT. Master Boot Record (MBR) disks use the standard BIOS partition table. GUID Partition Table (GPT) disks use Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI). One advantage of GPT disks is that you can have more than 4 partitions on each disk. GPT is also required for disks larger than 2 TB. Because of many advantages, newer Windows operating system such as Windows 10 and Windows 11 initialize system disk as GPT by default, especially to 64 bit editions. Many people ask if it's possible to change a disk from MBR to GPT without losing data. In this article, I'll introduce 3 ways to convert MBR to GPT in Windows 11 laptop/desktop. Select the corresponding method according to your own disk configuration.
1. Convert MBR to GPT in Windows 11 Disk Management
Windows 11 has convert MBR to GPT option in Disk Management tool, but it is useless in most cases. When you right click the front of a MBR disk, you'll find that the "Convert to GPT Disk" option is grayed out. Then how to enable this option? You must delete all partitions on this disk.
If this MBR disk is operating system installed in, you cannot delete C drive and other system reserved partition. Therefore, you cannot convert system MBR disk to GPT in Windows 11 Disk Management. Only when there's another disk to save all files in this MBR disk and you can delete all partitions on it, you may consider converting MBR disk to GPT in this way.
How to convert MBR to GPT in Windows 11 with Disk Management:
- Press Windows + X keys together and click Disk Management in the list.
- Right click a partition on this MBR disk and select "Delete Volume". Repeat to delete all partitions.
- Right click the front of this MBR disk and select "Convert to GPT Disk", done.
It is a bad idea to convert disk by deleting all partitions on it, but there's still a way to data only hard disk drive. What to do if you want to change MBR disk to GPT with operating system? There's another native tool to help you from Windows 10 version 1703. You can run MBR2GPT.exe from command prompt in Windows 11.
2. Change MBR to GPT with Windows 11 MBR2GPT.exe cmd
It is not different to run MBR2GPT command in Windows 11 computer, but your disk partition configuration must meet the requirements below:
- All partitions on the MBR disk must be Primary. If there's Logical drive, follow the method to convert it to Primary in advance.
- There should be maximum 3 Primary partitions on this MBR disk. If there are four or more partitions, follow the method to move some partitions to another disk.
- All partitions on this MBR disk must be formatted with FAT16/32 or NTFS file system, no other Windows not supported partitions such as EXT2/3, APFS.
How to convert MBR disk to GPT with MBR2GPT cmd in Windows 11:
- Back up your system disk in case of your computer doesn't support booting from GPT disk, or if there's unpredictable error.
- Press Windows and R hot-keys together, type cmd and press Enter.
- In the command prompt window, input mbr2gpt /disk:0 /convert /allowFullOS and press Enter to execute. If your system disk is not 0, replace it with the right number. You'll see the disk number in Disk Management.
- MBR2GPT will validate the disk partition layout before converting, if the validation failed, the conversion will stop, so it won't do any damage to your computer.
- If it converts disk to GPT successfully, the changes cannot be undone. There's no Windows native tool that is able to convert GPT to MBR in Windows 11 without losing data.
- MBR2GPT command can only help you convert system disk from MBR to GPT. If you use it to convert a data only MBR disk, you'll receive error "Disk layout validation failed for disk 1".
3. Convert disk with free MBR to GPT converter
If you want to convert a data only disk from MBR to GPT, but don't want to delete any partition, there's free MBR to GPT converter in Windows 11/10/8/7/Vista/XP computer.
Download NIUBI Partition Editor, you'll see all disk partitions with structure and detailed information on the main window.
How to convert disk from MBR to GPT in Windows 11 with NIUBI:
- Right click the front of the MBR disk and select "Convert to GPT disk".
- Click Yes to confirm in pop-up window.
- Click Apply on top left to take effect.
Watch the video how to convert MBR data disk to GPT in Windows 11:
Besides converting MBR disk to GPT in Windows 11/10/8/7/Vista/XP computer, this free partition software helps you do many other disk partition management operations such as shrink, extend, move, merge, convert, defrag, hide, wipe, scan bad sectors.