By Cherry / Last Updated September 9, 2019

You cannot access the GPT protected partition

“Recently, I put a hard drive to my computer as an external hard drive. But I cannot open, read or access the hard drive in Windows. When I try to find away to solve the problem, I found that it is shown as “GPT Protective Partition” in Disk Management, which I do not know why it happens and how to deal with. Is there anyone can help me get rid of such a problem and use the hard drive properly?”

GPT Protective Partition

For the case above, here we highly recommend the users to remove the GPT protective partition or convert GPT protective partition style to MBR when you cannot access the GPT protection partition. Before that, you should know what is GPT protection partition.

What is GPT protected partition?

GPT, the short of GUID Partition table, is a standard for the layout of the partition table on a physical storage device used in a desktop or server PC such as HDD or SSD. Compared with MBR disk, the GPT disk provides a more flexible mechanism for partitioning disks, but it requires your computer motherboard supports UEFI/EFI mode. It applied on most Windows OSes, but only excluding the Windows 32-bit operating system. The GPT disk is supported by most operating system including Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 and Windows Server 2003 SP1, Windows 2008, etc. However, the 32-bit Windows XP and Windows 2003 give no support to GPT disk.

So, when you plug in a GPT hard drive on a Windows 32-bit XP computer, it may be in a normally “Healthy” state, but showing you “GPT Protective Partition” in Disk Management. You cannot open, read, or access the GPT Protected Partition. What pissed you off is when you right click the GPT Protective Partition,you’ll find there is no choice for you in the emerged menu, and you have nothing to deal with it.

Solved: Convert GPT protective partition to MBR without losing data

As we can see, you can do nothing to the GPT protective partition with Windows Disk Management. Well, how can you make the GPT disk available again?

1. You can use Diskpart to remove GPT protective partition so that it can be accessed and used normally.

Step 1. Click Start, type cmd in the search box, right click the program and click Run as administrator. It will pop up a command prompt.

Step 2. In the command prompt, type diskpart and press Enter. When the diskpart command prompt opened, you can remove GPT protective partition with a few commands:

list disk. This command will list all drives on your computer.

select disk n (n refers the number of the disk that you want to remove GPT protective partition from), it will show you “Disk n is now the selected disk”.

clean. It will erase all data on the hard drive. When the progress is completed, it will show you “DiskPart succeeded in cleaning the disk” prompt. Like the following screenshot.

Remove GPT Protective Partition

Finally, type “exit” to close the diskpart.exe and type “exit” again to close the command prompt. After that, you can go to Windows Disk Management to see the result after removing GPT protective partition. You will find that the GPT protective partition changed into “Unknown, Not Initialized and Unallocated” disk. And you can initialize the disk to reuse it.

The question is if you remove GPT protective partition from the disk, it will make the data loss, which isn’t a wise way for administrators. Well, is there anyway can solve the GPT protective partition error without losing data?

2. You can convert GPT protective partition to MBR without data loss by using the third party software AOMEI Partition Assistant.

AOMEI Partition Assistant is a great free hard drive partition manager that can help you convert disk between GPT and MBR without losing data. And it supports Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10, both 32 bit and 64 bit. Before using it to convert GPT protective partition to MBR, you need to do something first:

  • Connect the hard drive to your Windows PC, make sure it can be detected.

  • You can use some data backup software to backup hard drive in case of some accidents that caused data loss.

  • Download freeware AOMEI Partition Assistant. Install it on your Windows PC.

Step 1. It will show you the basic situation of your hard drives on its main interface. Select the GPT protective partition, right click it and select Convert to MBR Disk.

Convert To Mbr

Step 2. It will pop up a dialog to confirm the operation. ClickOK.

Mbr Ok

Step 3. When the page returned to the main interface, click Apply-> Proceed to execute the operation.

Mbr Apply

When the progress reaches 100%, close the program, and the GPT protective partition has already been changed into MBR without data loss. And you can open, read and use it on your 32 bit Windows normally.

3. For dynamic disk, you can upgrade AOMEI Partiton Assitant to Professional. Which is featured with AOMEI Dynamic Disk Manager, allowing you to managing dyanmic disk and voume safely and easily.

Launch Dynamic Disk Manager

After you launch it, you can resize dynamic disk, move dynamic mirrored partition, convert dynamic disk to basic, move volume slice, etc. All of these functions will help you to manage your dynamic disk conveniently.

Here are three ways you can use to convert GPT protective partition to MBR for accessing it. Well, if there is no important data on the hard drive, you can use Diskpart to remove GPT protective partition; if you do not want to lose data on the hard drive, you can use the AOMEI Partition Assistant or Dynamic Disk Manager to convert GPT protective to MBR without data loss. Anyway, you can choose the way you need.