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Windows 7: Hard Drive - GPT or MBR

Hard Drive - GPT or MBR

How to Quickly and Easily Tell if Your Hard Drive is Formatted GPT or MBR
Published by TVeblen
04 Aug 2012
Published by

How to Quickly and Easily Tell if Your Hard Drive is Formatted GPT or MBR

Note   Note
New PCs are arriving with their hard disks pre-formatted using the GUID Partition Table (GPT) rather than the legacy MBR method.

This tutorial shows you a quick and easy way to determine the file table format.

Here's how:

1. Open Disk Management: Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Disk Management.

2. Right click on the Disk # box
NOTE: The smaller box on the left, with the Disk #, not the larger volume boxes.
Hard Drive - GPT or MBR-ss-1.png
3. Select Properties
Hard Drive - GPT or MBR-ss-2.png
4. Click the Volumes tab.
Hard Drive - GPT or MBR-ss-3.png
5. Next to Partition Style, it will list the format as "Master Boot Record (MBR)" or “GUID Partition Table (GPT)”.
Hard Drive - GPT or MBR-ss-4.png
Note   Note
Also here it lists the small Unallocated and Reserved spaces that Windows requires at the beginning and end of disks for it's housekeeping duties.
  • The unallocated space at the end of a hard drive is used by Windows to create (convert Basic to) Dynamic Disks. Any unallocated space at the beginning of of a hard drive is used by Windows in case it needs to manage uncommon partition structures.
  • The MSR partition is required for UEFI systems.


04 Aug 2012   #1
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64

Very nice! Well done.

Check out this link if you ever want to tart it up a bit:
Windows 7 Forums - BB Code List

My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Aug 2012   #2
x BlueRobot


Thanks :) what's with the need for the replacement of the Master Boot Record?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Aug 2012   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1

Newer computers are taking advantage of the UEFI system, and with it comes some new requirements and changes. We often get posts here where the answer is going to depend on whether the OP has a MBR disk or a GPT disk. This tutorial will help to get the OP to find that information, we hope.

Systems that use the UEFI capable motherboards have these primary features:
  • Can boot faster that Legacy BIOS systems
  • Can boot Windows 7 on hard drives greater than 2TB.
  • Can use a "Boot Manager" partition natively (for better or for worse), rather than the legacy "Active" partition and boot loader.
These new systems, and systems using hard drives larger than 2TB, need to use the GUID Partition Table to function in an UEFI environment.
Knowing what kind of system we are dealing with is going to be of primary concern in the coming months.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

29 Apr 2013   #4

64 bit

I am not positive but I do not believe you can make a change to GPT from MBR if you are using windows XP.
Please advise if I am incorrect. Thanks Hoppy100
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2013   #5

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

Hello Hoppy, and welcome to Seven Forums.

If you have 64-bit XP, you will be able to convert a disk to GPT from MBR. You wouldn't be able to with 32-bit XP.

Windows and GPT FAQ

Hope this helps, :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2013   #6

64 bit

I only have win xp pro 32 bit so I understand this wont change my MBR.

Does anyone kno of a free or inexpensive software program that will change my disks MBR to GPT???

All Help appreciated. Hoppy 100
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2013   #7

64-bit Windows 10 Pro


You will only be able to do so in a 64-bit XP.

You will not be able to convert a disk from MBR to GPT in a 32-bit XP. It's just not supported.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2013   #8

64 bit

I think that these is a Windows 7 install disk that would probably prepare a hard disk so that I could install W 7 but
I only received 2 disks when I ordered w 7- 32/64. I don't have an install disk. Is there such a disk and if it is available how may I get one?

Thank you Shawn and Brink and anyone else for your help. Hoppy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2013   #9

64-bit Windows 10 Pro


I thought you were wanting to do this with XP?

Even if you converted a disk to GPT with Windows 7, a 32-bit XP would not be able to use it.

You can use a GPT disk with either a 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 7. The two discs that you got when you ordered Windows 7 should be the installation discs?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Hard Drive - GPT or MBR

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