How To Check GPT Or MBR in Windows 10 And Convert Them.
MBR was first introduced by IBM in 1993 and immediately became a popular way to partition disks. The MBR has two limitations that led to its termination. You cannot partition drives larger than 2 TB, and you cannot create more than 4 logical partitions. This is why Windows computers have a maximum storage size of 2TB.
This is where GPT comes in. As the size of the disks grew, there was a need for a partitioning system that could handle large disks with many logical partitions. GPT formatting can handle up to 128 hard drive partitions up to 18 exabytes in size. That’s 1 million TB. Needless to say, GPT has been around for a long time, although most casual users may never feel the need to use such a large disk or so many partitions. I’m happy with only four.
If MBR disks come with BIOS, GPT disks come with UEFI. MBR also makes it difficult to recover lost files.
Here’s a short version. You should use GPT because it has a modern interface, it can boot your computer faster, especially if you are using solid state drives, it is not easy to damage and file recovery is easier.
You should only use MBR if you need to use an older operating system such as Windows XP or earlier, otherwise only use GPT.
Also Read: Comparing Best Disk Space Analyzer for Windows 10
My Drive is MBR or GPT
Many people still use older computers and operating systems. In fact, a recent report says that 49% of all Windows computers are running Windows 10. This means that many of you guys are still running Windows 8 or earlier, which means there is a high chance that your drive is was formatted using the MBR system. …
How was my disk broken? There are 4 ways to find out.
1. Device management
Close all windows and while on your desktop press Windows Key + X to select the Disk Management option. When it opens, right-click the drive and select Properties. Select the Volumes tab and there you will find out if your HDD / SSD is partitioned using MBR or GPT system.
2. Device management
You can also use Device Manager to see if your disk has been partitioned using the MBR or GPT system. To do this, press the Windows + R keys to open the Run command line. When it opens, type devmgmt.msc and press Enter to open Device Manager. Alternatively, you can also press the Windows key + X keyboard shortcut to open the hidden menu and click Device Manager.
Expand the Disk Drives option here and you will see a list of all your drives. I only have one. Double-click the drive to open a pop-up window. In the Volumes column, click the Fill button to see how your disk was partitioned.
Also Read: 7 Ways to Free Up Hard Drive Space in Windows
3. Command Prompt
For those of you who love or rather are forced to use the command line, there is a simple command to find out if your disk is partitioned using an MBR or GPT system. Start a command prompt by searching Windows or using the Run command. To use the latter, press Windows + R, type cmd, and press Enter. When Command Prompt starts, type “diskpart” and “list disk” on each line and press Enter.
If your disk was partitioned using GPT, there will be an asterisk (*) under the GPT column. If there is no asterisk, be aware that your disk was partitioned using MBR.
PowerShell is even more powerful than the command line. In fact, I suspect Microsoft will remove the command line entirely soon. Press Windows + X to open the hidden menu and select PowerShell from there to launch it. Unlike the command line with a black background, PowerShell has a blue one. When it opens, type Get-Disk and press Enter.
Now that you know the difference between the two partition styles and their meaning, and you know how to find out which disk partition your disk is using, let’s see how to change the disk formatting.
How to change partition format from MBR to GPT
There is no doubt that GPT is the way forward, and if you are still using MBR on one of your computer’s hard drives, you should consider converting it to GPT format. So how do we do this? Here are two ways to convert any HDD or SSD from MBR to GPT.
If you are using Windows 10 on your computer, then you already have the MBR2GPT tool installed. The utility is developed by Microsoft itself and comes with every PC on which the Creators Update is installed. If you’re wondering, this is V1703. To find the build number, enter “winver” in the Run line (Windows key + R). If you haven’t upgraded yet, this is another reason why you need to do so.
The main advantage of the MBR2GPT tool is that it converts your disk partition from MBR to GPT without deleting your data or files. I still recommend everyone to back up all their files and data just in case. There are two ways to run this tool. You can run it from Windows PE (preinstallation environment) or from a full OS with the special / allowFullOS command. The .exe file is located in the System32 folder, but you can find it using the Windows search function. There is no need to go deep into the folder structure.
Before you start, make sure that the following requirements are met for the tool to function properly:
- The disk is in MBR format.
- This is an internal drive, not an external hard drive. disk
- There are currently no more than 3 partitions.
- One section dedicated to the system and active.
- No extended or logical partition.
- the system partition has a BCD repository with a default OS entry that points to the OS partition
Now run Command Prompt as administrator. To do this, search for CMD in Windows search, right-click and select Run as administrator. You should see “Administrator” in the title when the Command Prompt window opens.
First, you will check the disk you want to convert from MBR to GPT as shown in the screenshot above. To do this, enter the following command:
mbr2gpt / validate / disk: [enter your disk number] / allowFullOS
To initiate the MBR to GPT conversion process, you will need to enter the following command at the command prompt:
If you are using WinPE, enter: mbr2gpt / convert / disk: [enter your disk number]
If you are using Windows 10, enter: mbr2gpt / convert / disk: [enter your disk number] / allowfullOS
Note that you will no longer be using BIOS, but UEFI instead, so make sure your system supports UEFI before you start. After the conversion is complete, you will have to make changes manually. To do this, in Windows 10, press “Windows key” + “I” to launch “Settings”, select “Update & Security – Recovery – Advanced Startup” and click “Restart”. When your computer restarts, you will see a blue screen where you change the boot type from BIOS (MBR) to UEFI (GPT). Reboot again for the changes to take effect.
Microsoft has created a really helpful video on this topic, which I recommend you watch in full before proceeding with the conversion.
Read: How to create a partition in Windows using disk management
2. MiniTool Partition Wizard
If you are not using Windows 10 with the Creators Update, you will have to use another third-party tool to change the partition style from MBR to GPT. One of the most popular tools is MiniTool Partition Wizard. This nifty little tool is free and compatible with Windows 7/8/10. For the purposes of this tutorial, the free version is sufficient. Download and install it.
When the MiniTool Partition Wizard opens, click Disk & Partition Management. Now just right click on the disk you want to convert and select “Convert MBR Disk to GPT Disk”. Click Apply to start the process.
Also Read: 8 Best Hard Drive Health Tests for Windows 10
MBR and / and GPT
Now you know what partitioning MBR and GPT are and how much the latter is superior to MBR in every possible sense. Not only Windows, but Apple’s macOS also use the GPT partitioning style. You can easily convert a disk with MBR partitions to GPT using one of the above methods. While there is no need to make a backup, I still suggest that you make one.