MBR or GPT Windows Server
When first install a disk to machine, you’ll find it is marked as “unknown” in
Windows Server Disk Management. You need to initialize it MBR or GPT type. Well,
which one is better for your Server? You can tell that after a basic understanding
of MBR and GPT.
MBR, short for Master Boot Record, is an old and common-used disk layout. The GPT,
GUID Partition Table, provides a more flexible principle for partitioning a hard
disk. GPT has visible advantages compared to MBR. In detail, it supports disk size
more than 2TB; support unlimited number of partitions; has no limitation to the size
of partitions; and every partition on GPT disk can have a same partition. All merits
account for that why so many users want to convert MBR to GPT on Windows Server.
Important: since GPT is super than MBR, there is limit for
converting to GPT on Server. That is, the computer should support to boot from
UEFI/EFI if plan to convert MBR-formatted system disk to GPT. Besides, 32bit system
does not work on a GPT disk. So, upgrade system to 64bit before converting. On the
contrary, if you don’t convert GPT to MBP disk on Server which cannot support GPT
disk, you will be unable to access data.
What does Windows Server Manager can do in MBR & GPT conversion?
Windows Server offers Server Manager to assist you convert MBR/GPT in graphical
user-interface. Disk Management allows you to convert an EMPTY disk to GPT in
seconds, so does Diskpart in CMD. If there is partition or volume on the disk, when
right-click the disk in Disk Management, you’ll find Convert to GPT Disk
grayed out and you have option to convert it to Dynamic Disk.
How to keep data on the disk intact during MBR and GPT converting on Server?
Fortunately, Server Manager also provides Windows Server Backup that can help you
back everything up before deleting. Learn the detailed steps below.
Convert MBR to GPT without data loss via Windows Server Manager
Following will take convert MBR-formatted data disk to GPT on Windows Server 2008 for
example since you cannot delete system partition under Windows Server environment.
Converting data disk to GPT mostly is to make full use of disk capacity, for
example, when 4TB
HDD not working on Windows Server.
1. Backup disk volume via Windows Server Backup
You can backup volume to local disk or removable device. If back up to removable
device like USB flash drive or external hard drive, connect it to your Server in
Step 1: open Server Manager and go Storage > Windows Server Backup (you can access
to this utility by typing “windows server backup” in the search box). If did not use
this feature before, you need to install (Server Manger\Features) it first.
Step 2: in the right pane, click on “Backup Once Wizard”. Follow the wizard to
complete backup settings.
Step 3: after the backup process completes, go to Disk Management and delete existing
partitions or volumes.
2. Convert MBR to GPT on Windows Server 2008 (R2)
Step 1: in Disk Management, right-click the disk and select “Convert to GPT
Step 2: in a few seconds, the convert process will be completed. You can check that
by right-clicking the disk again, and you’ll find the feature changes to “Convert to
MBR Disk”. That is to say, you can convert empty disk to MBR with Disk Management as
Step 3: right click the unallocated space to create a new partition with “New Simple
Volume”, so that you can recover backed up data.
3. Recover backup image via Windows Server Backup
At the main interface, you can find the backup you just created displayed. Click
“Recover Wizard” this time. Follow the wizard to complete file recovery.
As covered before, above method is not applied to converting system disk between MBR
and GPT because you cannot delete C drive in Windows environment. If you have Server
installation disc or Windows Recovery Environment around, you can make a backup for
your Server system disk and recover it back after converting to GPT. This process
requires you to convert disk to GPT using Diskpart in Command Prompt. Syntax would
list disk>select disk n>clean>convert gpt
It would work yet also takes up a lot of time and effort at the same time. Therefore,
it is a good idea to rely on professional conversion tool: AOMEI Partition Assistant
Server. It allows you to convert between MBR and GPT on Windows Server
without deleting or formatting volumes and partitions on system disk and data disk,
let alone data loss. This software simplifies the converting process to the most.
Its user-friendly interface is also suitable for both computer novice and experts.
How to convert MBR GPT Server 2008 (R2) without deleting?
Next part will take convert MBR-formatted system disk to GPT partition table on
Convert MBR to GPT Windows Server 2008 without losing data
Step 1: run AOMEI Partition Assistant and right click the disk you want to convert,
select “Convert to GPT Disk”.
Step 2: it will prompt two dialogs to let you confirm the conversion.
Step 3: click “Apply” to execute the pending operation.
A reboot is required when system drive is involved in.
To boot from GPT disk, you need to change Legacy to UEFI.
Change GPT back to MBR on Server with ease
If you want to convert GPT to MBR disk on Windows Server in the future, you can use
the same feature in the same software. When right click on GPT disk, you’ll find the
function name changed to “Convert to MBR Disk”. The rest is the same as above
Tips: After converting to MBR, you need to change UEFI/EFI to Legacy
if the selected disk is system disk.
AOMEI Partition Assistant Server is reliable and powerful partition tool that created
for Windows Server OS in particular. So it is also can be used to convert MBR GPT in
Windows Server 2012/2003 (R2)/2016 without data loss.