By AOMEI / Last Updated September 18, 2020

The case

Can I clone from 2TB MBR to 3TB GPT?

I have Windows 7 Professional 64-bit installed on my desktop. Unfortunately for me and my wallet my hard drive is failing. I have purchased a 3TB hard drive as a replacement for my current 2TB drive. I would like to avoid as much hassle as possible in moving to this new drive.
Can I simply copy the MBR partition onto the new disk and then convert it to GPT? Or would I need to somehow copy the contents of the partition into a GPT partition on the new drive?

- Question from Superuser.com

Page Contents:

Prepare to clone 2TB MBR to 3TB GPT disk

If you want to use a 3TB hard drive to replace your 2TB drive in order to store a large amount of stuff like high definition videos and database on your computer, there are things you need to consider.

  • Partition style: to be able to use the full 3TB disk space, you have to initialize the 3TB hard drive to GPT partition style.

  • Boot mode: it requires UEFI boot mode to load system from a GPT disk.

If your original hard drive is an MBR disk that uses Legacy BIOS based boot mode, things will be tricky to clone hard drive from MBR to GPT disk as they require different firmware. Most of the computers have support for UEFI boot mode. Make sure that your computer supports UEFI mode in BIOS, and then you can work on cloning hard drive from 2TB to 3TB.

Solutions to clone MBR disk to GPT disk

First, you may want to use Windows built-in backup and restore tool to restore an image backup of your hard drive to the 3TB drive. After loading to the restore interface, you will receive an error that system image restore fails because of EFI/BIOS. Since Windows backup will not work on this, it brings the second choice, third party software.

Most of the cloning programs allow you to clone MBR to GPT disk. How they make this possible? The regular cloning will wipe your 3TB disk clean and then convert it to MBR disk, which exactly is doing an MBR to MBR clone. It works and allows you to boot from it without a problem. However, as mentioned, your 3TB hard drive becomes an MBR disk, and the problem is an MBR disk only supports up to 2TB disk space, leaving you almost 1 TB space unusable.

Luckily, there is another powerful cloning utility, AOMEI Backupper Professional that allows you to clone MBR to GPT without changing its partition style. In order to make the cloned disk bootable, it will create an EFI partition automatically in the cloning process. After the cloning, you only need to change Legacy to UEFI boot mode, and then you can enjoy your full 3TB system disk.

How to clone to 3TB GPT disk in the easiest way?

As specialized hard drive cloning software, AOMEI Backupper Professional has made it very easy to clone hard drive between MBR and GPT disks. All versions of Windows 8/8.1/10 and 64 bit Windows 7/XP support booting from GPT disk. Make sure both your operating system and your computer support UEFI boot mode and then get started.

1. Install and run this program for hard drive cloning.

2. Click “Clone” in the main interface and then select “Disk Clone”. If you only want clone system, you can select “System Clone”.

Choose Disk Clone

3. Select the 2TB MBR disk as the source disk. Then select the 3TB GPT disk as the destination disk. Make sure there are no important files on the destination GPT disk, because the clone process will delete all data.

Select 2TB MBR Disk

4. Then it will bring you the Operation Summary screen. Click “Edit Partitions” in the bottom and select “Add unused space to all partitions” to enjoy full capacity of the 3TB GPT disk. You can also choose “Manually adjust partition size” as per your need.

Edit Partitions

5. Confirm the operations and click “Start Clone” to start the cloning process. While cloning hard drive, you can also use the computer.

Start Clone to 3TB GPT Disk

>> SSD Alignment: if the 3TB disk is an SSD, use this option to improve the reading and writing speed of the SSD.
>> Sector by sector clone: it will clone every sector of the source disk, no matter whether the sector is used or not. The “Edit Partitions” option will become unavailable if you use this option.

Summary

Besides the ability to clone 2TB MBR to 3TB GPT hard drive, AOMEI Backupper also provides backup and recovery features. Therefore, you can create a disk backup of the 2TB MBR hard drive and then restore it to the GPT disk. If you are looking for a file sync tool to help you sync two external hard drives in Windows 10, AOMEI Backupper can also do you a favor. Why not try it now?