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Fix 'Windows Cannot Be Installed to This Disk MBR'

Updated by Daisy on Feb 26, 2021
Written by Myra

Overview of 'Windows Cannot Be Installed to This Disk MBR'

The issue 'Windows cannot be installed to this disk MBR' indicates the error message 'Windows cannot be installed to this disk. The selected disk has an MBR partition style.' It may appear during the Windows installation process and you cannot install Windows successfully unless you solve it. Another similar error is 'Windows cannot be installed to this disk. The selected disk is of the GPT partition table.' This article will tell you how to fix them accordingly and why these errors occur.

Windows cannot be installed to this disk. The selected disk has an MBR partition table.

How to Fix 'Windows Cannot Be Installed to This Disk MBR'

How do you fix 'Windows cannot be installed to this disk'? The error message itself has given the answer: change MBR to GPT. Then how can you convert MBR to GPT? There are three methods.

Tip
Both Method 2 and Method 3 will erase all your data on the target volume. If you want to try these two methods, please make a full backup on an external hard drive.

Method 1. Convert MBR to GPT without Data Loss

First, we'd like to recommend an easy and handy tool - EaseUS Partition Master. It will help you to create a bootable USB/CD packaged with the utility, with which you can boot your computer and then use it to change the disk from MBR to GPT. Most important, you can convert the disk without deleting any existing partition and erasing any data.

Key features of EaseUS Partition Master:

  • Convert between MBR and GPT easily and freely.
  • No data erasing or partition deleting during the converting process.
  • Not a throw-away tool. Also supports users to resize/move, merge, or clone partitions.
  • 100% secure. Approved by authorized agencies like SOFTPEDIA, PCWorld, Techradar, etc.

Step 1. Prepare a disc or drive, like a USB drive, flash drive, or a CD/DVD disc. Correctly connect the drive to a bootable computer. Then, launch EaseUS Partition Master, find the "WinPE Creator" feature and click on it.

create easeus partition master bootable disk

Step 2. Choose USB or CD/DVD according to the device you connect to the computer, then click "Proceed".

create easeus partition master bootable disk

Step 3. Connect the WinPE bootable disk to the computer. Restart your computer and press F2/Del at the same time to enter BIOS. Set to boot the PC from "Removable Devices" (bootable USB disk) or "CD-ROM Drive" (bootable CD/DVD) beyond Hard Drive. Press "F10" to save and exit.

Step 4. Launch EaseUS Partition Master again. Right-click the MBR disk that you want to convert and select "Convert to GPT". Then, you will add a pending operation.

convert MBR to GPT

Step 5. Click the "Execute Operation" button at the top-left. Next, click "Apply" and begin to convert the MBR disk to GPT.

convert MBR to GPT

There is a video tutorial about how to interconvert between MBR and GPT disk with EaseUS Partition Manager. Take a look and try to convert MBR to GPT without data loss.

Method 2. Convert MBR to GPT with Disk Management

You can also convert the disk type in Disk Management on your computer. Besides, to delete a volume, and to extend and shrink a volume are also available with Disk Management. Please follow the steps below to see how to convert the disk from MBR to GPT. This method involves a volume deletion. Please make sure you have made a full backup.

Step 1. Enter Computer Management.

Go to Control Panel, head to Administrative Tool, and choose "Computer Management". You can also right-click "This PC", and choose "Manage" to enter the Computer Management.

Go to Computer Management

Step 2. Delete the Target MBR Volume.

Click "Disk Management", you can see all your disk volumes here. Right-click one volume and choose "Delete Volume". Repeat the process to delete all the volumes.

Delete Volume

Step 3. Choose Convert to GPT Disk.

Now right-click the MBR disk and choose the option of "Convert to GPT Disk".

Convert to GPT Disk

Method 3. Convert MBR to GPT with Diskpart

If you attempt to install Windows via the Windows installation DVD or USB, you can also apply it to convert MBR to GPT. However, this method will erase all the existing files on the disk. If you prefer to avoid data loss, you need to use Method 1 or back up your files on the disk with the file backup software - EaseUS Todo Backup. To make a backup of the MBR disk, you also need to create a bootable device via the software.

Step 1. Turn off the PC and put in the Windows installation DVD or USB.

Step 2. Boot the PC from the DVD or USB.

Step 3. In Windows Setup, press "Shift + F10" to start Command Prompt.

Step 4. Enter the following command in order to convert the MBR disk to GPT:

  • diskpart
  • list disk
  • select disk 1 (choose the disk you want to install Windows on)
  • clean
  • convert gpt
  • exit

After entering the above command, close the Command Prompt and continue the Windows installation. 

Notice:
Most of the computers running Windows 10 support the UEFI firmware with BIOS-compatibility. On computers like that, you can also change UEFI to BIOS mode to fit the MBR disk. However, since the error message contains 'On EFI systems, Windows can only be installed to GPT disks', which suggests that it's UEFI-based firmware, you can only convert MBR to GPT to fix the issue.

Cause of 'The Selected Disk Has an MBR Partition Table'

The error message itself has already given you the reason why Windows cannot be installed on the MBR disk. That's because your computer has an EFI system, which is not compatible with an MBR disk. It means your computer's hardware doesn't allow you to boot from a disk with the MBR partition table. However, many users have confused about what the MBR partition table is, what an EFI system is, and why can't Windows installed on an MBR disk on an EFI system. Here are the answers.

What is an MBR Partition Table

The partition table decides the layout of the hard drives like an HDD or SSD and tells Windows how to access the data on it. MBR partition table is a traditional partitioning method that supports disks with a maximum size of 2TB. Besides, MBR has a limit that you can create at most four primary partitions on the MBR disk.

Contrary to MBR, the GPT partition table is a newer standard for disk partitioning. GPT supports disks larger than 2TB and has theoretically no limit on how many partitions you can create on the disk.

Both MBR and GPT are the frequently used partition styles on computers. For more introduction, refer to the article about MBR vs GPT.

What is EFI

Most of the computers use either of the boot mode: BIOS or UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface). The EFI, Extensible Firmware Interface, is the name of the partition that stores the UEFI boot files.

Why Cannot Windows Be Installed to the MBR Disk

MBR disks use the standard BIOS partition table and GPT disks apply UEFI. That means if your computer has the traditional BIOS firmware, you should install Windows on an MBR disk. Similarly, if the computer is UEFI-based, you can only install Windows on a GPT disk.

You are now clear about why the prompt saying 'Windows cannot be installed to this disk. The selected disk has an MBR partition table.' appears. That's because you are trying to install Windows on an MBR disk on the computer which has UEFI firmware, which is incompatible.

The Bottom Line

The only solution to 'Windows cannot be installed to this disk MBR' is to change MBR to GPT. To get it done, you can either use the partition tool - EaseUS Partition Master or Windows installation DVD/USB, depending on whether you want to keep the files on the MBR disk. Hope this article can help you solve the problem successfully.

Related Questions

There are some hot issues related to MBR disk you may be interested in.

"How do I change MBR to GPT?"

If the computer can boot properly, you can change MBR to GPT via Disk Management. If your computer cannot boot, you can use EaseUS Partition Master or Windows installation media to convert MBR to GPT.

"How do I get rid of the MBR partition table?"

The partition table is necessary to use a disk. Thus, you cannot simply get rid of the MBR partition style. Instead, you should convert it to GPT if you don't want it.

"Can Windows 10 installed on MBR partition?"

Whether you can install Windows on MBR or not depends on the firmware of the computer. You can Windows 10 install on MBR partition if the computer is BIOS-based or UEFI-based with BIOS-compatibility.

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Updated by Daisy

Daisy is the Senior editor of the writing team for EaseUS. She has been working in EaseUS for over ten years, starting from a technical writer to a team leader of the content group. As a professional author for over 10 years, she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.

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Written by Myra

Myra joined EaseUS in 2017. As a big fan of Apple products, she mainly focuses on iOS data transfer and iOS troubleshooting tips. Meanwhile, she is expanding her knowledge and skills in other fields like data recovery and disk management. Myra is open-minded and likes both extensive and intensive reading. Other than reading and writing, she is also fond of mobile games and K-pop stars.

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  • I love that the changes you make with EaseUS Partition Master Free aren't immediately applied to the disks. It makes it way easier to play out what will happen after you've made all the changes. I also think the overall look and feel of EaseUS Partition Master Free makes whatever you're doing with your computer's partitions easy.

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