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MBR vs GPT – Which One You Want to Use

Posted May 16, 2017

Have you found this situation: if you add a new hard drive to your computer, and after opening Windows Disk Management, a prompt message appears to tell you to initialize this new disk? As a matter of fact, before using a new hard drive, disk initialization is necessary. From the following figure, you know there are two partition styles including MBR (Master Boot Record) and GPT (GUID Partition Table). Usually, Windows will initialize the disk to MBR by default.

But after using the disk for a period, it is possible that the partition style of the target disk can’t meet your demands, and you want to change the disk to GPT/MBR. When reading here, you may be wondering: what is the difference between MBR and GPT? MBR VS GPT, which one you should use for the better performance? Read the following part to learn much information.



MBR is short for Master Boot Record which means a specific boot sector locating the beginning of the disk. And it contains much information on how the partition is organized. On an MBR disk, you can only create at most four primary partitions or three primary partitions plus one extended partition including many logical partitions. What’s more, MBR disk only supports disk which is equal or smaller than 2TB. If you use a 3TB disk, the rest part will show unallocated space in Windows Disk Management. More importantly, MBR disk is compatible with the previous versions of Windows.


On the contrary, on a GPT disk, you can create up to 128 partitions which are primary partitions by default. In disk size, GPT disk supports up to 18EB hard drive. But as for the OS support, the GPT partition style is not recognized by some old systems. In security, GPT disk provides a higher security since it allows you to recover the whole partition table from the backup GUID partition header after a certain error or issue appears.

Here we briefly show you the difference between MBR and GPT, and if you want to know more detailed information, click this post – MBR VS GPT: Which One Should Be Chosen for Your SSD. By comparison, to create more partitions for various file storage or make full use of the larger than 2TB disk, it is necessary to change your disk to GPT. On the other hand, if you need to install an old OS, we advise you to convert GPT to MBR.

Convert to MBR/GPT

How to change your disk to GPT or MBR? It is not a difficult job. Usually, Windows Disk Management is your first choice. However, this tool will cause data loss. When right clicking the disk you want to convert, you often find “Convert to MBR Disk” or “Convert to GPT Disk” feature is unusable. If you delete all partitions of the disk, the feature can be available. Namely, Disk Management only allows you to convert an empty disk to GPT or MBR.

To do the conversion between MBR and GPT, we recommend a third-party partition manager – MiniTool Partition Wizard. This professional partition software is designed to manage your disk safely and efficiently. You can freely download it here. After launching it to the main interface, select the disk you want to convert, and then click “Convert GPT Disk to MBR Disk” or “Convert MBR Disk to GPT Disk” to start the conversion operation.

MBR and GPT, you should choose a proper one according to your needs. If you want to convert your system disk, please check whether the motherboard supports the partition style. Otherwise, Windows will fail to boot.

Written by Anna Lan

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