Hard drives and SSDs, whether internal or external, appear to be plug and play devices. End users will rarely have to set up a hard drive for anything. Even if you plan on doing a clean Windows install, the hard drive or the SSD that’s on your system will be ready for installation. That said, you might need to change the partition table for a drive from MBR to GPT, or from GPT to MBR.
Change partition type
Before we show you how you can convert a a disk from GPT to MBR, or MBR to GPT you should know;
- Both HDD and SSDs can be MBR or GPT drives
- Changing a drive from one type to the other will result in your drive being wiped clean so be careful
- You can do this from inside Windows but if you don’t have an OS installed, you can still change the partition table if you have a bootable Windows 10 USB
Delete Volume – Disk Management
On Windows 10, search for the disk management tool in Windows search. Connect the drive that you want to change the disk type for. Obviously, if you’re trying to do this for the drive on your system, you won’t be able to do it from your desktop. If that’s the case, skip to Command Prompt section.
In this tutorial, we’re changing the disk type for a USB drive. It’s only one volume but your hard drive may be divided into several volume so what you need to do first is right-click each volume and from the context menu, select the ‘Delete Volume’ option. You will get a warning message telling you that everything on the drive will be erased. Accept it, and delete the volume.
Delete Volume – Command Prompt
Next, open Command Prompt with administrative rights. If you don’t have Windows 10 installed, you want to check out how you can access command prompt without an OS installed.
In Command Prompt, enter Diskpart, and tap the Enter key. This will run the Diskpart tool in Command prompt.
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If you were unable to delete all the volumes on your disk from a Windows 10 desktop, you need to enter the following command;
This will list all disks that you’ve connected to your system. Enter this command to select the disk you want to delete volumes from;
select disk #
Replace the # with the number of the disk that was shown when you ran the list disk command. Once the disk has been selected, you want to view all the volumes configured;
This will list the volumes and each volume will have its own numbers. Select a volume with this command;
select volume #
Change # to the number for the volume you want to select. Delete the volume with the command;
You’re now ready to change the partition style.
GPT to MBR
In Diskpart, select the disk that you want to change the partition style for. The same commands listed in the previous section will do the trick. You want to first list all the disks, and then select the disk you want to convert.
Once selected, run this command to change the partition style from GPT to MBR;
MBR to GPT
To change the partition style from MBR to GPT, run this command;
Using the drive
So far, you’ve only set the partition style. You still cannot install an OS on the drives. You’re going to have to allocate space and create volumes. We have a guide that details how to do just that for Windows 10, and for Linux.