By Teresa / Last update October 20, 2021

My new hard drive is in GPT, can I clone MBR to GPT directly?

MBR and GPT are two different ways to save the partitioning information on a disk. Master Boot Record (MBR) uses standard BIOS while GUID Partition Table (GPT) uses unified extensible firmware interface (UEFI).

MBR disks have a 2 TB maximum disk size limit, which means it does not support disks with more than 2 TB disk space. And MBR disks cannot have more than four primary partitions. A more modern partition style GPT doesn’t have the limits that MBR disks have. Partitions on a GPT disk can be many, and much larger in size.

MBR disks support both 32-bit and 64-bit system, but only 64-bit version of Windows or Server versions can be installed on a GPT disk. On 32-bit system, GPT disks can be used as data drives.

Therefore, you must make sure that your computer supports UEFI before you clone MBR to GPT disk.

When need to clone MBR to GPT disk?

Many users want to clone disk from MBR to GPT, for the advantages of GPT disks. Nowadays, hard disk drives are getting more capacity, and disks beyond 2 TB are often used in building computers, so many large hard drives or SSDs are initialized as GPT disks by default for making full use of the free disk space on a large drive.

Many people want to replace their old disk with a large hard drive with GPT partition style, but only to find that the old disk is an MBR disk. At this stage, many people would either convert the large disk to MBR leaving disk space beyond 2TB unusable or reinstall Windows and applications on the GPT disk.

Both ways are cumbersome, you can directly clone disk from MBR to GPT disk. It’s much easier. And if you want to get the best performance of a cloned drive, it's wise to clone MBR HDD to GPT SSD and then use the original HDD as storage.

How to clone hard drive from MBR to GPT?

AOMEI Backupper Professional is a disk cloning program for Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7 that is capable of cloning hard drive from MBR to GPT or clone MBR HDD to GPT SSD without converting the destination disk to MBR and the cloned drive will remain bootable as the original one.

Before you do, make sure your system is 64-bit and your computer supports UEFI boot mode. To clone MBR disk to GPT with AOMEI Backupper, you can use either System Clone (to clone OS from MBR disk to GPT disk) or Disk Clone (to clone MBR disk to GPT entirely). Let’s take Disk Clone as an example and show you how to clone Windows 10 from MBR to GPT:

1. Click the download button to install and launch this cloning software. Connect or install the target GPT disk to your PC in advance and make sure it can be detected.

Download Free Trial Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

2. Click Disk Clone under Clone tab.

Disk Clone

3. In the screen, select the MBR disk as the source disk and click Next.

Select MBR System Disk

4. Select GPT disk or SSD as the destination disk and click Next. Make sure there are no important files on the destination GPT disk, because the clone process will delete all data. If there are, you need to backup files before cloning.

Select GPT Disk

5. Tick SSD Alignment if you are cloning MBR HDD to GPT SSD, which can accelerate the writing and reading speed of SSD disk. Then, click Start Clone to start the cloning process.

Clone MBR System Disk to GPT

Notes:

  • The process to clone MBR to GPT disk will be running in the background, so it won’t affect your work with the computer.
  • Before you can boot from this GPT disk, you need to boot into BIOS and change legacy to UEFI boot mode. Otherwise, you will encounter the problem - clone MBR to GPT won't boot, due to the wrong boot mode.
  • Beside cloning MBR to GPT, this software also allows you to clone GPT disk to MBR SSD as well.
  • This software is still a backup and restore software, so you can use it to backup MBR disk and restore MBR system image to GPT disk. This can also be used for the purpose of replacing MBR disk with GPT disk.

For more intuitive guide, please check the following video.

Cloned hard drive won’t boot – how to fix

Many users report that they cannot boot from computer with the cloned hard drive. Don’t worried about. See below and try to fix it.

1. Change boot mode from BIOS to UEFI. Cloning MBR system disk to GPT, you need to boot into BIOS and change legacy to UEFI boot mode after cloning and then boot from GPT disk. This is the simplest way.

2. Try startup repair from Windows Recovery Environment. You can boot from the installation disc and go to repair your computer > Troubleshoot -> Advanced Options -> Automatic Repair (for Windows 8/8.1/10). If you are using Windows 7, you can navigate to Repair your computer, select the operating system and then click Startup repair.

3. Try bootrec.exe command line with installation disc. You can press “Shift + F10” to open command line and then type the following commands and hit Enter after each.

  • bootrec /fixmbr

  • bootrec /fixboot

  • bootrec /scanos

  • bootrec /rebuildbcd

To sum up

Cloning MBR to GPT disk can be much easier than converting GPT disk to MBR and cleaning install the operating system on the GPT disk. Then, what you need is a reliable and powerful disk cloning software, which can clone disk from MBR to GPT without converting disk and ensure secure boot.

I recommend you AOMEI Backuppper Professional. It can do more than you image. Beside cloning disk, system clone and partition clone also support. More so, it’s still a backup and restore software. You can use it to backup system, backup partition, backup files and disk.

Download AOMEI Backupper Professional and give it a shot. If you are using server, you can try AOMEI Backupper Server. It’s designed for server-based operating system, including Windows Server 2008/2012/2016 and its R2 version.