MBR and GPT in Windows Server 2012
MBR and GPT are different partition styles used on hard drives. Master boot record
(MBR) disks use the standard BIOS partition table. GUID partition table (GPT) disks
use unified extensible firmware interface (UEFI).When you plug in a new hard drive
in Windows for the first time, it will ask you to initialize the hard drive to MBR
or GPT. In general, if the hard drive is less than 2TB, it is suggested to
initialize to MBR. Otherwise, initialize to GPT. From here you can see, MBR
partition table has 2TB capacity limitation. Converting
between MBR and GPT is available.
Another obvious drawback of MBR is you can only create four primary partitions or
three primary partitions plus one extended partition on this table. GPT has no limit
in this aspect and it allows you to create up to 128 primary partitions. So when
hard drive capacity has been expanded, some users need to convert MBR to GPT Server
2012 to fully take advantage of the disk.
Convert MBR to GPT in Server 2012 with built-in tools
Windows Server 2012 provides snap-in tools that can help you do the conversion, if
the need ever arises. They are graphical user-interface Disk Management and Diskpart
in CMD. There is one point need to be paid attention to when using these two tools:
both of them support convert empty disk between MBR and GPT. Disk Management cannot
convert running system disk from MBR to GPT in Server 2012, and to convert system
disk with Diskpart, an installation disc is necessary.
Convert MBR to GPT in Windows Server 2012 R2 with Disk Management
The quickest way to access Disk Management in Windows Server 2012 is to right-click
the bottom-left-corner on the desktop to open Quick Access Menu. Disk Management is
listed there. Since it supports convert empty basic disk to GPT, you need to delete
all partitions or volumes on the disk, or you’ll find “Convert to GPT Disk
1. Right-click the partition and select “Delete Volume” to delete existing partition
on the hard drive you want to convert to GPT in Server 2012. It is advised to backup
important data before formatting or deleting.
2. After deleting all volumes, right-click the disk and select “Convert to GPT Disk”.
The conversion will be completed in a short while.
Before you convert disks, close any programs that are running on those
You cannot use the GPT partition style on removable media.
As covered before, you cannot convert disk that running Windows Server 2012 to GPT
because Windows does not allow you to delete system drive before converting.
Therefore, Diskpart plus installation disc combination can be used as a workaround
for converting MBR to GPT in Server 2012.
Windows Server 2012 convert MBR to GPT with Diskpart
In the first place, backup files you care most before you do the conversion. Back up
entire hard drive to storage that you’ll not convert to GPT, if necessary.
1. Shut down your Server 2012 and insert Windows Server installation disc and boot
from the disc.
2. Press+key combo to open Diskpart utility. Now, input
below commands in Command Prompt to convert to GPT disk:
Note: all data will be wiped out after this conversion. If backed up
before, backup images can be restored now. Diskpart can also be used to convert data
disk to GPT under Windows environment.
As simple as they are, these tools have risk to cause data loss. Backup and restore
increase time and effort cost. What’s more, if there is no Windows Server
installation disc around, there is no way to convert system disk to GPT. Under such
circumstances, it is a wise move to seek help from third-party software.
Software to convert MBR to GPT in Server 2012 without data loss
AOMEI Partition Assistant Server is professional hard drive partition manager that especially designed for Windows
Server OS including Server 2012, Server 2003, Server 2008 and latest Server 2016. It
offers technology that can assist you convert MBR to GPT in Server 2012 (R2) without
deleting or formatting partitions or volumes. In other words, you can preserve
system files and personal data on disk while converting to GPT.
Moreover, after converting to GPT, the unallocated space at the end of the disk can
be allocated to any existing partitions with the help of AOMEI Partition Assistant. Converting
from GPT to MBR is also workable with this software. It has a user-friendly
interface that is suitable for both computer experts and novices. Why don’t you
download this software and have a try?
How to convert MBR to GPT in Server 2012 without deleting?
Step 1: install and start AOMEI Partition Assistant Server. At the
main interface, right-click the disk you want to convert to GPT in Server 2012 and
select “Convert to GPT Disk”.
Step 2: then click “OK”>“Yes” to confirm the operation.
Step 3: click “Apply” to commit the task.
Apparently, there are many ways to convert MBR to GPT in Server 2012/2016/2008/2003,
yet to find the easiest way to convert system disk to GPT without data loss is not
an easy way. AOMEI Partition Assistant makes up for the disadvantage of Windows
Server 2012 built-in tools and does a great job. Except for converting between
partition tables, converting
between NTFS and FAT32 file systems is also usable.
The AOMEI Partition Assistant Server edition also allows you to do basic and advanced partition operations such as resizing/deleting/formatting and moving/copying/wiping partition.