Difference between MBR and GPT

If a completely new drive is connected to PC or when a hard drive is cleaned, no partition is found on the drive. Besides, by opening Disk Management, Windows ask you to initialize it to MBR or GPT. The following picture gives you a more clear explanation:
Difference between MBR and GPT-1
A more close look we know MBR is selected by default. What’s the difference between MBR and GPT, is there any benefit choosing one over the other?
Typically, most users will accept the default choice of Windows to initialize the drive with MBR partition style. However, in some case, you may find yourself encounter troubles choosing an MBR partition style.


MBR is short for Master Boot Record, which is a traditional and commonly-used disk layout. GPT is short for Globally Unique Identifier Partition Table and is a new disk layout associated with EFI. After initializing a hard drive with MBR or GPT, we can call the disk as MBR disk or GPT disk.
MBR disk supports 4 primary partitions OR 3 primary partitions plus 1 extended partition (which can be further divided into multiple logical drives) at most. In comparison, GPT disk supports up to 128 primary partitions in Windows. Besides, up to 2 TB disk space can be successfully used by Windows if a hard drive is initialized with MBR. By contrast, up to 18FB disk space can be used if the drive chooses GPT partition style. In addition, GPT disk has backup GUID partition table, offering stronger protection for data in it.
Reading here, you might think that GPT enjoys more advantages over MBR. But this is not the whole story. In fact, MBR has better compatibility than GPT. All versions of Windows Vista/XP/7/8/8.1/10, Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2016 can use GPT disk to save data. But only 64-bit editions on UEFI-based systems can be used as system disks.
So the conclusion here is that you should choose MBR or GPT for SSD according to your own needs.

Check if Your Hard Drive Is MBR or GPT

How do you know if you are using an MBR disk or GPT disk? Well, by entering Disk Management or diskpart, you know it clearly.
>>Use Disk Management
Run “diskmgmt.msc”, in the pop-up window, you will see all your hard drives are listed there. Right-click a disk and see what you get. If you see an invalid “Convert to GPT Disk” option, this disk is an MBR disk. If you see an invalid “Convert to MBR Disk”, this disk is a GPT disk.
You can also right-click the disk and select “Properties” -> Volumes to view the specific partition style.
Difference between MBR and GPT-2
>> Use DiskPart Command Line
Type “diskpart” in the search box, run it to get the command prompt window.
Type “list disk” and hit Enter. You will see a list below the command. Please observe if there is a * marked in the Gpt column. See the following picture, disk 0 is an MBR disk, and disk 1 is a GPT disk.
Difference between MBR and GPT-3

MBR VS GPT: How to Make the Conversion

Knowing the difference between MBR and GPT, how to convert MBR to GPT and vice versa? Like what we said at the beginning, most users choose MBR by default. However, for those whose hard drive enjoys huge capacity (let’s say 6TB hard drive), obviously, MBR is not the right choice. So, how to make the mutual conversion? You know the convert options are greyed out in Disk Management.
If you have MiniTool Partition Wizard, we think you won’t be troubled by such questions. MiniTool Partition Wizard Free helps to convert MBR disk to GPT and vice versa for data drives. However, note that if it is system disk to be converted, MiniTool Partition Wizard Pro helps to convert MBR disk to GPT disk only. Besides, to avoid data loss, its Copy Disk feature helps to make the conversion without affecting your original data. If you are interested, you can read our guide: The Best Way to Clone MBR to GPT without Boot Issue.
Difference between MBR and GPT-4


Copyright © 2012 - 2014 PartitionMagic.biz, All Rights Reserved.
Partition Magic® is a registered trademark of Symantec Corporation.