How to Convert MBR to GPT Without Losing Data in Windows

By Andy Samuel to Partition Manager | 2023-09-26

If you wish to transition your firmware type from BIOS to UEFI without making changes to your existing installation or erasing the data on the drive, or if you intend to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11, you will need to convert your drive's partition style from Master Boot Record (MBR) to GUID Partition Table (GPT). There are several ways to convert MBR to GPT on a Windows machine, let's show you how to do that using thembr2gpt tools.

Part 1. MBR vs. GPT: What's the difference? 

In Windows PCs, there are two major ways to organize the storage on your hard drive or SSD: MBR and GPT. These methods tell Windows how to handle the data on your drive, and you have to choose one when you first set up your drive. So, each drive needs one of these styles.

MBR (Master Boot Record) and GPT (GUID Partition Table) are two common styles.

  • MBR is the more common choice and works with older BIOS systems.
  • But GPT is the more secure and faster style that works with only UEFI systems.

 MBR vs. GPT Partition in Comparison

DefinitionMBR (Master Boot Record) is a partition style for setting up a hard disk.Knowledge of GPT is crucial for creating new partitions or converting old ones.
Maximum Disk Capacity2TB9.4ZB (1 ZB is equivalent to 1 billion terabytes)
CompatibilityMBR is the most common format and works with BIOS systems.GPT is a newer format designed for UEFI systems.
LimitationMBR can handle up to four primary partitions or three primary partitions and one extended partition.GPT can accommodate an unlimited number of partitions.
System typesMBR is used with BIOS systems.GPT can be used with both BIOS and UEFI systems
OS Versions Windows 10 and Older. Windows 11 and older.
ComplexityMBR is less complex than GPT.GPT is more complex than MBR but offers compatibility with various operating systems.

Part 2. Easiest Way to Convert MBR to GPT on Windows 11/10/8/7 without Losing Data?

If you want the easiest and fastest way to convert Mbr to Gpt without data loss,PassFab 4EasyPartition is the software you need. 4EasyPartition is the ultimate mbr2gpt converter that safely converts MBR to GPT so that your systems can meet crucial requirements for a Windows 11 upgrade.

Follow these simple steps to learn how to convert MBR to GPT without losing data.

  • Download and install PassFab 4EasyPartition on your computer. After installation, open the application.

  • On the left-hand navigation panel, choose "Convert Disk." Then, click on “Convert MBR to GPT” to proceed.

    Convert MBR to GPT
  • Choose the disk you wish to convert, then press "Continue" to reach the execution interface.

    Convert MBR to GPT

    If the selected disk is the system disk, the program will download PE components. Afterward, a prompt will appear. Save unsaved files, prevent power loss, and click "OK." Your computer will then restart into the PE environment.

    Hint: For external disks, the program will perform the conversion immediately without requiring a restart or entering the PE environment.

    Convert MBR to GPT
  • Once the program launches within the PE environment, choose "Convert MBR to GPT" to continue.

    Convert MBR to GPT
  • Choose the disk to convert and then click "Continue."

    Convert MBR to GPT
  • PassFab 4EasyPartition begins converting MBR to GPT. The time it takes to finish the conversion depends on the number of partitions on the disk.

    Convert MBR to GPT
  • Conversion complete! To ensure your computer starts correctly, please follow the steps below as shown in the images. Failure to do so may result in improper startup.

    Convert MBR to GPT Convert MBR to GPT

Part 3. Another 3 Ways to Convert MBR to GPT on Windows 11/10/8/7

If for some reason you can't carry out our recommended method which is to use a third-party software like PassFab 4EasyPartition, we have included some other proven methods you can try. Specifically, you can learn how do I change from MBR to GPT free below.

1.Converting MBR to GPT – MBR2GPT

MBR2GPT.exe is a Windows-native utility designed for MBR-to-GPT disk conversion. It's good because it preserves your files throughout the process. However, it's not our recommended method due to its complexity and reported issues by users. Additionally, you have to have a newer Windows 10 version, at least 1730.

  • To access the Advanced Startup screen, follow these steps:

    • Click the Start button.
    • Click the Power button.
    • While holding the Shift key, click Restart.
  • Go to "Troubleshoot," then select "Advanced options," and finally, choose "Command Prompt."

  • In the Command Prompt, enter these commands one by one and press Enter after each command:

    ‘mbr2gpt /validate’

    ‘mbr2gpt /convert’

    mbr2gpt /validate mbr2gpt /convert
  • After running those commands, your disk will be converted from MBR to GPT without losing the data in it.

2.Converting MBR to GPT - Disk Management

Disk Management is another native Windows utility that allows you to solve the Windows cannot be installed to this disk issue by converting MBR to GPT.

  • Search for "Disk Management" next to the Start Menu and press Enter to open it.

  • Locate the disk you want to convert in the utility's list.

    Right-click on it and choose "Delete Volume."

    disk management delete volume
  • Right-click on the same disk and select "Convert to MBR disk

    Convert to GPT Disk

3.Convert MBR to GPT – Diskpart

For those who aren't fans of graphical user interfaces, Diskpart is the perfect environment to learn how to convert mbr to gpt using a script.

  • Start a Command Prompt as administrator

  • Enter "diskpart" to launch the command-line utility. You'll enter the interactive Diskpart menu, signaled by the change in the prompt to "DISKPART>."

  • Type "list disk" to view all connected disks on your computer. Pay attention to the asterisk (*) in the Gpt column of the output; it signifies that the disk is already in GPT format.

    Diskpart list disk
  • Use the command "select disk #" to inform Diskpart that you intend to act on the specified disk. (Where # is the number associated with the disk you want to convert to GPT)

  • Now, type "convert gpt" to convert from MBR to GPT partition scheme. A success message appears if the process is completed without issues.

    Diskpart convert gpt
  • Type “exit” to exit and close the diskpart utility safely.

Part 4. Bonus Tip: How to Fix MBR Error 1 on Windows 10?

The MBR (Master Boot Record) is essential for your computer as it helps locate the operating system during startup. If there are MBR issues, your computer may not load the Windows OS, resulting in errors like "MBR error 1". There are other error codes such as "MBR error 2," or "MBR error 3," all indicating problems with your system. MBR error 1 can be from two possible causes.

  • Incorrect BIOS boot order: Changes in the boot order can prevent your PC from booting from the primary storage device.
  • MBR damage or corruption: A damaged or corrupted MBR can also trigger the Windows 10 MBR error 1, requiring MBR repair.

Solution 1: Change Boot Order in BIOS

When an MBR error 1 occurs, check the boot order as your first point of call.

Step 1: Begin by either starting your computer or rebooting it. If your computer is unable to boot, use a Windows installation media or a bootable USB/CD/DVD to initiate the reboot.

Step 2: On the BIOS Setup page, follow the on-screen guidance to access the Boot tab.

Tip: Depending on your computer manufacturer, the entry might be named differently, such as "Boot Options" or "Boot Order," and can sometimes be found in menus like "Other Options," "Advanced BIOS Features," or "Advanced Options."

Step 3: You'll find the boot order list. Ordinarily, "Hard Drive" should be at the top of the list. If it's not, use the arrow keys to move it up.

Setup confirmation

Step 4: Save and exit the BIOS. Restart your computer to check for MBR error resolution. If the error persists, proceed with the methods to fix MBR in Windows 10.

Solution 2: Rebuild MBR via Command Prompt

Fix the MBR with Command Prompt by restarting your computer using a Windows installation media. Set the media as the primary boot option and select "Repair your computer" to access the WinRE page as shown below.

windows setup repair your computer

Step 1: Choose the "Troubleshoot" option from the menu.

Step 2: Then navigate to “Advanced options” from the Troubleshoot page.

troubleshoot convert mbr to gpt

Step 3: Navigate and select Command Prompt from the menu.

advanced options command prompt

Step 4: Enter the command "bootrec /fixmbr" and press the Enter key.

Step 5: Input "bootrec /fixboot" and press Enter key.

Step 6: Type "bootrec /scanos" and press the Enter key.

Step 7: Enter "bootrec /rebuildbcd" and press Enter key.

bootrec rebuildbcd

These steps are for Windows 8/10 only. For Windows 7, you'll need a CD/DVD/USB with an ISO file to access WinRE, then enter the commands as shown in the image.

convert mbr to gpt successfully

Part 5. FAQS about Converting MBR to GPT

Let’s answer some of your common questions about how to convert MBR to GPT Windows 10

Q1: Do I have MBR or GPT? Identifying Whether My Drive Is MBR or GPT?

  1. Right-click on the disk (not the partition) and choose "Properties."
  2. Go to the "Volumes" tab.
  3. Look for the "Partition style" field, which will indicate whether the hard drive uses the "Master Boot Record (MBR)" or "GUID Partition Table (GPT)" style.

Q2: How To Convert MBR to GPT on Linux

Follow these steps to Linux convert MBR to GPT

  1. Install gdisk on your Linux machine

run sudo apt install gdisk –y

  1. Run sudo fdisk -1 to list all the disks on the computer
  2. How To Convert MBR to GPT on Linux 
  1. Launch the gdisk utility
  • To scan and display the partition table for a specific partition (e.g., /dev/sda1):

    Run sudo gdisk /dev/sda1

  • To choose the disk interactively, simply type: sudo gdisk

You will be prompted to enter the disk name, followed by pressing Return. The command will then scan and display the partition table for that disk.

inux convert MBR to GPT

don’t forget to replace /dev/sda1 with the actual system drive. (/dev/sda for most systems)

  1. Create the GPT partition table.

Type "w" and press Enter. This action will write the GPT partition table to the designated disk. If you receive a confirmation prompt, press "y" to confirm your choice.

convert MBR to GPT Linux
  1. Confirm the conversion process
  2. Tip:

    To check if the disk is now GPT, run sudo gdisk /dev/sda1

 How to Convert MBR to GPT on Linux

Q3: Can I convert the system disk from MBR to GPT?

You can convert a disk from MBR to GPT partition format, provided that the disk doesn't have any partitions or volumes. Before performing this conversion, make sure to back up any data on the disk and close any programs that might be using it.

Q4: What is the Limitation of MBR vs. UEFI?

UEFI allows for improved utilization of larger hard drives by supporting both the traditional MBR and the more flexible GPT partitioning methods, which overcome MBR's limitations on partition

Final Words

In this article, Our objective is to clarify the major methods to convert MBR to GPT without data loss including use of Professional tools like 9. PassFab 4EasyPartition for our readers. And ensure readers of all technical levels can always find a way of converting an MBR disk into GPT that works for them.