How to Clone GPT to MBR SSD (Worry-Free Tutorial)

To clone from GPT to MBR disk you may concern about the boot issue and maximum primary partition limit. Get to know how to clone GPT to MBR in worry-free way.


By Delia Updated on July 18, 2023

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In need of GPT to MBR clone

Replacing HDD with SSD is a good upgrading in system startup and program loading, and disk clone is the easiest way to achieve that without reinstalling or data loss. When it comes to partition style, normally we consider GPT to be more advanced and superior to MBR, hence the tendency to clone MBR HDD to GPT SSD in Windows 11/10/8/7.

However, there are two scenarios that you may need to clone GPT to MBR:

  • You want to replace GPT HDD with a MBR SSD, and your computer supports both UEFI and Legacy BIOS.
  • You want to transfer everything from GPT to a new drive, and use it on a computer that doesn't support booting from GPT disk (so MBR is the only choice).

As you can see, the first scenario is done on the same computer, while the second involves different hardware. In the following I will explain how to clone GPT disks in each case.

Bonus tips: Prerequisites for booting Windows from GPT partitioned disk
✍GPT formatted SYSTEM disk is only supported on 64 bit Windows (data disks support both 64 and 32 bit).
✍ The computer should have a motherboard with an UEFI based firmware which allows for booting GPT disks.

Clone GPT To MBR

Then, how can you clone GPT disks and transfer it to MBR SSD successfully? Check these notes and step-by-step tutorial below.

Matters to pay attention on cloning GPT to MBR disk

Because of the differences between the GPT and MBR partition styles, there are more things you need to consider when cloning GPT to MBR than regular disk cloning.

As covered, UEFI based firmware ensures GPT disk boot up, while Legacy based firmware helps boot MBR disk. So you’ll need to change the boot mode from UEFI to Legacy after cloning.

MBR partition layout supports up to 4 primary partitions or 3 primary partitions plus 1 extended partition (which could contains unlimited logical drives); All partitions on GPT disk are primary partitions and the number of partitions could reach to 128 at most (also accounted for why so many people convert MBR to GPT).

Suppose you have a GPT disk partition into 5, these partitions will be changed after cloning to MBR disk. The cloning process may not even complete if you use unqualified cloning tool. Therefore, it is suggested to pick an intelligent cloning software that can save you from the hassle of modifying partitions.

After clearing away the blind spot of cloning from GPT to MBR disk, it is time to get to know how to do the cloning.

How to clone GPT to MBR SSD step by step (2 ways)

To clone a GPT to MBR SSD, you need a powerful cloning tool such as AOMEI Backupper Professional to fulfill the following criteria:

🚀SSD Alignment When you clone a GPT HDD to MBR SSD, the partitions will be automatically aligned along the SSD block boundaries, which accelerate the target SSD and prolong its life span.
🔰Intelligent Clone By default, it copies only used sectors so you can clone GPT to smaller SSD. Optionally, you can perform a sector-by-sector clone (if the target drive is larger or equal sized) to copy all the sectors indiscriminately.
🔧Edit Partitions

It will overwrite all the partitions on the source GPT drive to the target MBR. If there are more than 4 primary partitions, the extra ones will be converted to logical partitions in the MBR SSD; If the target drive is larger, you can also use the Edit Parititions feature to resize partitions and assign unused space.

🪐Universal Restore When you want to clone GPT to MBR SSD and use it on a different Legacy BIOS based computer, you need to consider the compatibility between dissimilar hardware. Universal Restore is the feature you need to move Windows to different computer. You can also create a bootable media to boot a bare metal machine and perform system migration in WinPE.

Download the comprehensive UEFI disk cloning software to clone GPT to MBR SSD.

Download Best Cloner Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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With it, you can try the following 2 ways to suit different cases:

Way 1. To clone GPT disk in Windows


  • The target MBR SSD will be overwritten after cloning. Backup files to external drive or another safe place if the need ever arises.
  • Make sure the target disk has enough space to hold all the data on the source disk.

1. Connect via SATA-to-USB cable or install the SSD to your machine. Install AOMEI Backupper Professional and run it.

2. Click Disk Clone under Clone tab.

Choose Disk Clone

3. Select the UEFI GPT disk as the source disk.

Select UEFI GPT System Disk

4. Select the MBR SSD as the destination disk.

Select MBR Disk

5. At the Operation Summary page, check SSD Alignment and then click Start Clone.

Tick SSD Alignment


💜 Sector by sector clone: by checking this option you’ll clone all sectors from GPT to MBR SSD, whether it is used or not. This method takes longer time as well.

💜 Edit partitions: four options are available in this feature. Please note that checking sector by sector clone will make this option unavailable.

  • Copy without resizing partitions: It will not resize the partition size.
  • Add unused space to all partitions: It will reallocate the unallocated space to each partition of the target disk, appropriate for the disk size.
  • Manually adjust partition size: It allows you to extend unallocated space to any partition on the destination disk you want.
  • Convert the destination disk from MBR to GPT: It helps to convert the partition style of the destination disk if it is different from the source disk.

Edit Partitions

6. Shut down your PC after the cloning progress finishes. Power on your machine and keep tapping a specific key (Del or F2) to enter the boot startup. If you do not know which key to press, just press Esc. It will give you the full menu, and then you can select BIOS Setup.

7. You’ll find Legacy/UEFI boot under the Boot tab. Just disable UEFI and enable Legacy. Press F10 to save the changes and exit. Restart your computer then.

Change UEFI to Legacy

Way 2. To backup GPT disk and restore to MBR SSD

In case you don’t have an USB-to-SATA cable, or want to move Windows from GPT HDD to MBR SSD on another computer, AOMEI Backupper also provides a way to backup UEFI GPT disk and then restore to MBR SSD. Here comes the brief steps.

1. Backup system drive by clicking Backup and then System Backup (or Disk Backup accordingly).

System Backup

2. All system-related drives are selected by default. Choose the destination path here. You have choices to backup system to USB flash drive, external drive, NAS, network share, etc. Click Start Backup and wait for it to complete.

3. Connect a USB drive to your PC and go Tools > Create Bootable Media to create an AOMEI Backupper pre-installed bootable media.

Create Bootable Meida

4. Turn off your computer and replace the GPT disk with MBR SSD manually. Google a video on how to replace hard drive would be helpful.

5. Insert the bootable media and power on, and change boot order in BIOS if necessary. Once logged in, you’ll see AOMEI Backupper loaded. Click Restore, access to the backup image and then follow the on-screen guide to continue.

✍Tips: To restore system image to a different new computer with dissimilar hardware with the assist of Dissimilar Hardware Restore feature, please upgrade to advanced edition.

Select Backup Image


Two available ways are offered by AOMEI Backupper Professional when it comes to clone GPT to MBR disk in Windows. Choose the one that is most suitable for your situation. Apart from clone and backup functions, you can also do real-time sync with said software to keep data protected instantly.

Delia · Editor
Delia owns extensive experience in writing technology-related blog posts, and has been a part of AOMEI since 2020 to provide expertise in data security and disaster recovery. She works with Windows operating systems, SQL databases, and virtualization platforms such as VMware and Hyper-V, specializing in troubleshooting and advising on data protection and migration.