When it comes to managing disk partitions on your computer, you may need to set a disk type as GPT or MBR. But what Is GPT and what is MBR? When comparing the two disk types - GPT vs MBR, which is better for SSD? This page gives you an ultimate guide to setting up the GPT disk and changing partition style to MBR or MBR to GPT for Windows update/installation. And you may also apply the provided solutions to troubleshoot complex errors on GPT disk drives on your Windows computers with success. Follow to uncover the details now. 

1. What Is GPT?

GPT partition style

GPT, GUID Partition Table, is a standard for the layout of partition tables of a physical computer storage device, such as a hard drive or solid-state drive, using universally unique identifiers, which as also known as globally unique identifiers (GUIDs).
                                      - by Wikipedia

What is GPT? According to Wikipedia, a GPT disk could be defined as a partition table for a physical disk - HDD/SSD. A GPT partition is also regarded as a primary or a logical partition/volume created on a local hard drive or external disk with a GPT partition style. Aside from huge data storage, a GPT disk also works for installing Windows operating systems, applications, gaming, etc.

2.  Learn about GPT Disk - GUID Schemes, Features, and Pros

This part shows the components of GPT disk, you can learn the disk structure of GPT, its features, and limits.

Disk Layout of GPT - GUID Partition Table Scheme

A GPT disk consists Primary Partition Table, Data Partitions, and Backup Partition Table:

  • Primary Partition Table: It contains the protective MBR, GPT header, and partition table that help the operating system to load information and access existing partition data.
  • Normal Data Partitions: It's the physical location where the GPT disk stores your data and personal files.
  • Backup Partition Table: It is an area the GPT disk keeps the backup information for the GPT header and partition table. It effectively protects your GPT disk from Primary Partition Table loss or damage error.

Here is a simplified GUID Partition Table scheme to help you better understand the GPT disk structure:

GPT disk layout

Before getting to know more details about the GPT disk, some of you may want to know the difference between MBR and GPT disk. This is what we'll discuss in the next part.

Features and Pros of GPT

GPT and MBR are two types of disk partition styles that help Windows computers to define a hard disk drive or a solid-state drive for storing data, installing programs, and installing/upgrading the operating systems. Alongside this, the GPT disk type also contains some unique features that MBR doesn't have. 

Features of GUID Partition Table: 

  • Support huge disk storage: 3 TB - 8 EB.
  • Support running on both Windows and macOS.
  • Breaks the limit of MBR: 4 primary partitions, simple volume less than 2TB.
  • Secure data with CRC values which detect damage and retrieve damaged data automatically.

What's the Difference Between MBR and GPT 

So what are the differences between MBR and GPT? Here is a comparison table that contains some basic information about MBR vs. GPT:

Differences GPT MBR
Structure
GPT disk structure
MBR disk structure
Partition Numbers
  • 128 partitions on Windows
  • Unlimited partitions on other platforms
  • 3 primary partitions
  • 1 extended partition
Max Volume Size and Disk Capacity
  • Max Partition Size: 256 TB
  • Max Disk Capacity: 18 EB
  • Max Partition Size: 2TB
  • Max Disk Capacity: 2TB or smaller
Boot Mode UEFI Legacy
Supported OS
  • Windows 11/10/8.1/7/XP/Vista(32bit and 64bit)
  • Windows Server 2022/2019/2016/2012/2008(32bit and 64bit), Server 2003 SP1 (32bit)
  • macOS
  • Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP
  • Windows Server 2019/2016/2012/2008/2003

Which disk partition style is more suitable for your drive, MBR or GPT?

  • GPT supports creating up to 128 partitions on a big drive with 3 TB or even bigger storage space.
  • And the MBR is more suitable for elderly Windows systems to save files on 2 TB or even smaller disk drives. 

To learn more differences between MBR and GPT, you can refer to this page to learn more details: 

3. How to Set Up GPT Disk and Use GPT on Windows [Full Guide]

So, how do I know if my current disk in my computer is GPT or MBR? How do I make use of GPT on Windows computers? Here is a full guide that you can follow to set up and make use of the GPT disk on Windows successfully:

  1. #1. How to Check the Disk Partition Style in Windows - GPT or MBR
  2. #2. MBR or GPT, Which Should I Choose for SSD
  3. #3. How to Convert MBR to GPT or GPT to MBR Without Losing Data in Windows 11/10
  4. #4. How to Install Windows 11 on a GPT Partition (with UEFI Enabled) Successfully

#1. How to Check Disk Partition Style in Windows - GPT or MBR

tell if Windows with GPT or MBR

So why is it important to learn the disk partition style of the hard drive or SSD installed on a Windows computer? Knowing the disk partition table of your hard drives will efficiently save you from the following problems if you already know your source disk type:

  • Can't migrate OS to HDD/SSD as the new disk doesn't share the same disk type as the source OS drive.
  • Cloned SSD with OS won't boot as the disk type is incompatible with the boot mode.
  • Can't create a 2TB or even bigger partition on a 6TB disk.
  • Can't create more than four primary partitions on a hard drive.

You can simply open Disk Management with the following steps to check the disk partition table of your disk on a Windows computer:

Step 1. Right-click the Windows icon, and select "Disk Management".

Step 2. Right-click on the disk that you want to check its partition style, and select "Properties".

Step 3. Go to the Volumes tab, and view the disk type next to Partition style: Master Boot Record (MBR) or GUID Partition Table (GPT).

Check disk type.

#2. Which Disk Type Should I Choose MBR or GPT for SSD?

Image of SSD for GPT or MBR

When you purchase a new SSD, be it a SATA SSD, M.2 SSD, or NVMe SSD, you'll always need to initialize an SSD so to make use of it on your Windows computers. Which disk partition style to select, MBR or GPT for an SSD disk? It depends. MBR and GPT are two types of disk partition tables designed for different operating systems and different usages.

 Do you know which disk type is more suitable for your SSD, MBR or GPT? Here is a table that lists some common suggestions on which disk type to set for your SSD, MBR or GPT:

Situations MBR for SSD GPT for SSD
Disk storage is less than 2TB ×
Disk storage is more than 2TB ×
Set SSD as OS disk for Windows 11 ×
Set SSD as OS drive for Windows 8 or later
Set SSD as OS drive for Windows 7 or earlier ×
The computer supports legacy boot mode ×
Computer support UEFI boot mode ×

Summary: 

  • To set SSD as data storage, disk with 2TB or even bigger storage, set is as GPT. But MBR is more suitable if the SSD is less than 2TB.
  • To set SSD as the OS drive, set it as GPT for Windows 11, MBR and GPT are both OK for Windows 10/8.1/8. And as for Windows 7 or older operating systems, set the SSD as MBR.

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If you need a step-by-step guide to set the disk partition type in your SSD and make it usable on a Windows computer, you may look into this page for help: MBR or GPT for SSD? Which Is Choose? [Full Guide].

Can I switch the disk partition tables between MBR and GPT? I don't want to lose my data, what can I do? Check the guide below, and we'll show you a safe guide to converting disks between MBR and GPT without losing any data.

#3. How to Convert MBR to GPT or GPT to MBR Without Losing Data in Windows 11/10

MBR to GPT conversion

In what cases do I need to convert MBR to GPT or GPT to MBR? Check the list below, and you'll know which disk type you are supposed to convert your HDD/SSD to:

Convert MBR to GPT:  Convert GPT to MBR:
  • Prepare disk for Windows 11 installation or update.
  • Break the 2TB file system limit of MBR and fully use disk storage on a 3TB or bigger drive.
  • Configure disk type for UEFI boot mode.
  • Create more than four primary partitions.
  • The disk is only 2TB or even smaller.
  • The computer only supports Legacy BIOS boot mode.
  • The operating system is Windows 7/Vista.

So is there a secure way that helps to seamlessly convert your disk to MBR or GPT without losing any data? User, reliable partition manager software - EaseUS Partition Master with its disk conversion feature is here to help. 

Free Download 

Windows 11/10/8/7100% Secure

Step 1. Download and launch EaseUS Partition Master on your computer.

Step 2. Go to Disk Converter, select "Convert MBR to GPT" and click "Next" to continue.

convert MBR to GPT - 1

Step 3. Select the target MBR disk that you tend to convert to GPT, and click "Convert" to start the conversion.

convert MBR to GPT - 2

BONUS TIP

Aside from converting a disk from MBR to GPT, you can also apply EaseUS Partiton Masterwith another three tools to change the disk type from GPT to MBR with tutorials on this page: Convert MBR to GPT or GPT to MBR Without Losing Data.

#4. How to Install Windows 11 on a GPT Partition (with UEFI Enabled) Successfully

UEFI boot mode for GPT disk

Can I install Windows 11 on a GPT partition? Sure. As long as you have followed the above tutorial guide: setting SSD as GPT or converting MBR to GPT, then you can follow the guide here to install Windows on a GPT partition and configure UEFI boot mode for Windows successfully:

First, Install Windows 11 on GPT Disk

Step 1. Download Windows 11/Windows 10 installation media.

Step 2. Connect an 8GB or even bigger empty USB to your PC, double-click the installation media, and select to burn the installation media to the USB drive.

Step 3. Reboot the PC into bios and set the computer to boot from the USB installation media.

Step 4. Follow the guidelines here to start installing Windows on your GPT disk:

  • Set Language, Time and currency format, Keyboard or input method, and click "Next".
  • Click "Install Now" to enter the next step.

Confirm to install Windows 11

  • Click "I don't have a protect key", then select Windows edition to install, and click "Next" to continue.

Select Windows edition to install

  • Click "Accept the Microsoft License Temer" and "Next".
  • Click "Custome: Install Windows only".
  • Select the GPT disk as the target drive to install Windows, and click "Next".

Wait for the installation process to complete, and let the computer boot into the newest Windows 11 successfully. 

Second, Enable UEFI Boot Mode for Windows 11 on GPT Disk

The UEFI firmware is required for Windows 11 if you want to use the GPT partition system on a hard drive or SSD. Follow the steps here, you'll be able to enable UEFI boot mode for GPT in BIOS on your own:

  • Reboot the PC, press F2/F12/Esc or Del to enter BIOS.
  • Go to the Boot Menu, select UEFI/BIOS Boot Mode, and select "UEFI".
  • Save the changes and exit BIOS, reboot the PC.

Enable UEFI for GPT partitioning system

After this, you can successfully start your Windows 11 computer running from the GPT disk with UEFI mode. 

ABOUT UEFI BIOS SETTINGS

Note that UEFI is set for GPT, while Legacy is set for MBR. To make Windows bootable, you need to configure the correct BIOS boot mode for your OS disk. Here, you can follow to learn how to Enable or Disable UEFI and switch boot mode on your own.

4. Troubleshooting Problems and Errors on GPT Disk

While using the GPT disk, some users reported that they have encountered some issues and had no idea how to fix them. Here we collect 2 top issues and if you have one of them, follow the guidelines below to eliminate the error from your GPT disk immediately.

Error 1: Can't Install Windows on GPT, Windows Cannot Be Installed to This Disk

Error Message 1: Windows cannot be installed to this disk. The selected disk is of the GPT partition style.

Error Message 2: Windows cannot be installed on this disk. The selected disk has an MBR partition table. On EFI systems, Windows can only be installed on GPT disk.

Windows can't be installed to this disk. The selected disk is of GPT partition.

Quick Fixes:

  1. #1. Enable UEFI in BIOS with guide steps as shown above.
  2. #2. Convert GPT to MBR with the help of EaseUS Partition Master. 

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE 

The Can't Install Windows errors are complex, so to the fixes. Here we collected 8 Fixes for you to try and apply to get rid of for Can't Install Windows on GPT or Windows Can't Be Installed to This Disk error. Then you can successfully install Windows on GPT disk. 

Error 2: Can't Access, Format, Delete or Manage GPT Protective Partition

When the GPT Protective Partition shows up on your disk partition, you'll have to face these issues:

  • Partition is inaccessible, you can't open files saved on it.
  • Can't create new partitions on it, nor resize it.
  • Can't delete files on it.
  • Can't delete partition, format the drive, etc.

To fix this error you should:

1st. Recover data from the GPT Protective Partition with Reliable data recovery software

2nd. Clear the GPT Disk with Diskpart command lines

  • list disk
  • select disk *
  • clean

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

The causes of the GPT Protective Partition error are various, and you can click here to learn how  access GPT Protective Partition without losing data.

After this, close diskpart. Then, you can apply EaseUS Partition Master, Disk Management, or Diskpart to change the disk type from GPT to MBR. Then re-partition your disk and create new partitions on it. 

Conclusion

The above parts clearly show you the definition of a GPT disk, compare MBR and GPT, and help you set the correct disk type for SSDs. We also presented you with an easy solution to convert disk between MBR and GPT without losing any data on Windows computers.

Stay calm if you encounter some problems while using the GPT disk drive on your computer, here we left effective solutions to help you fix any of the listed problems effectively:

  • Can't install Windows on GPT or Windows can't be installed.
  • Can't access GPT Protective Partition.

5. FAQs about GPT Disk Partition Style 

GPT disk seems to be a newer disk type than MBR, and it's now widely used on most new Windows computers, hard drives, and SSDs. If you have some other questions about the GPT partition style, help yourself find answers here.

1. How Do I Remove GPT Partition Style without Losing Data?

The reasons you want to remove the GPT partition style are various, but the solutions to this request are the same. To remove the GPT partition style from your disk without losing any data, you have two options:

Option 1: Convert GPT to MBR Using EaseUS Partition Master

Free Download 

Windows 11/10/8/7100% Secure

Option 2: Backup GPT Disk Data and Convert Disk to MBR via CMD 

  • list disk
  • select disk * (Replace * with the number of your GPT disk.)
  • clean 
  • convert MBR

Convert GPT to MBR using CMD to remove GPT partition style

2. GPT: GUID Partition Table Entry array CRC Is Wrong, How Do I Fix It?

When you encounter as similar error as states below, stay calm:

  • "GUID Partition Table (GPT) header contains invalid CRC-32 checksum of GPT entries array."
  • "GPT: GUID Partition Table array CRC is wrong: 0x68C5A23F != 0XFC11DBCE."

GUID partition table entry array crc is wrong

Here we'll show you how to do fix this error with Disk Management:

Step 1. Open Disk Management, and check if your GPT disk contains unallocated space.

Step 2. If yes, right-click the unallocated space, select "New Simple Volume...", and set the new partition size, file system, partition label, etc. And click "Finish".

Step 3. If no, choose a partition with no important data on it and, right-click the volume, select "Delete Volume...". Click "OK" to confirm.

Delete partition to fix GPT entry array crc is wrong error

3. Get "Bad PGT partition, invalid signature" in TestDisk, How Do I Fix It?

This error may pop up when you run the TestDisk commands to recover lost data from an unallocated GPT disk. The basic reason is that the GPT partition is corrupted or the partition table is invalid.

To instantly repair this error, you can directly apply partition manager software - EaseUS Partition Master with its reliable Rebuild MBR feature to fix the invalid partition error on your GPT disk with success.

Free Download 

Windows 11/10/8/7100% Secure

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Updated by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 7 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions about Windows & Mac data recovery, file/system backup and recovery, partition management and iOS/Android data recovery.

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