On this topic, you will learn how to fix this error message, “Windows Cannot be Installed to This Hard Disk Space. The Selected Disk Has an MBR Partition Table. On EFI Systems, Windows Can Only be Installed to GPT Disks”. This error message appears after clicking on the general error message that says “Windows Can’t be Installed on Drive 0 Partition 3”
This topic contains three methods to solve this problem without disk formatting and without losing your data, but before showing solutions, you have to know why and what does this error message mean, so you can select the suitable solution.
What is Meant by The Selected Disk Has an MBR Partition Table?
Usually, this error appears if you are trying to install windows 11, windows 10, windows 8 or older windows operating systems, specifically if you have booted from a bootable USB that has a GUID Partition Table (GPT) partition system, while the internal disk has an MBR disk scheme.
This error indicates that the Legacy is enabled or the Compatibility Support Module (CSM) is disabled in your BIOS settings, as the Legacy mode supports only a bootable USB created in an MBR disk scheme in order to install windows.
On the other hand, UEFI mode supports only GUID Partition Table (GPT) disk scheme. So if the UEFI mode is enabled in BIOS settings, you will fail to install windows from a USB created in MBR disk scheme unless the CSM mode is enabled, and you will see an error message saying that “The selected disk is of the GPT partition style”.
Which is Better for Windows 11, MBR or GPT disk scheme?
MBR disk scheme is not officially supported by windows 11 OS. In addition, GPT scheme is superior over MBR scheme in relation to boot speed, Secure Boot support, number of allowed partitions per disk, maximum size of each partition and many more features. So, GPT is the windows 11-favorable partition system.
Note: GPT & MBR disk systems are different from FAT32 and NTFS file systems. and they can be used in either HDD or SSD disks.
The following image will show you a briefcomparison between MBR and GPT disk schemes:
Now you can select the suitable solution that fit your situation using one of the following methods:
Create a bootable USB in your mobile that supports both GPT and MBR systems.
Recreate a bootable USB in MBR file system if you are using Rufus Tool
Converting the Computer disk scheme from GBT to MBR and then Enable UEFI mode in BIOS settings.
The first and second solutions are easier and safer than the third solution, as the later need more attention to avoid losing data. However, converting internal disk to GPT as instructed on the third solution, is an experts’ favorable upgrading, because GPT scheme has many advantages over MBR scheme, such as boot speed, number of partitions per disk, maximum size of each partition and many more features. In addition, windows 11 doesn’t officially support MBR scheme.
First Solution: Create a Bootable USB in Android Mobile Supporting Both GPT & MBR Systems:
Select the USB drive if not selected automatically or if you have more than one device connected.
Click on SELECT to load the ISO file of windows from computer
Change Partition Scheme to MBR and then click start to start flashing process
After that, boot from the USB to install windows without error message.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Both Rufus and Ventoy tools are available for free, but all data on the USB will be deleted when using either tool.
Refer to this link or this link for more details about creating a bootable USB using Rufus and Ventoy tools.
Third Solution: Convert Disk from MBR to GPT Without Losing Data:
Before converting your disk from MBR to GPT scheme, you have to confirm that your computer supports UEFI boot Mode, by opening BIOS settings or by searching google for your specific model.
To open BIOS settings, do the followings:
Power off your computer
Power on the computer
Press F12 or another hot key immediately and repeatedly to open BIOS settings menu.
This is the list of hotkeys that can be used to open BIOS menu:
Acer: F2or Del.
ASUS: F9, F2 or Delete
COMPAQ Presario: F10
Fujitsu: = F2
HP: F10, Esc ( Tower= F1)
Desktop= F1, F2
Laptop & Notebook= F1, F2 or Nano Button
Samsung: F2, F10
Sony: Assist Button or F2
Toshiba: = F2, F1 or Esc
Navigate to Boot menu or to Advanced menu and see if there is any option called Boot Mode or if there is any setting called UEFI mode.
If UEFI present in your firmware, leave BIOS settings as it without changes, and then boot from the USB to convert your disk to GPT:
Converting MBR to GPT Steps:
Press Shift + R keys from keyboard to open CMD
Type DISKPART and press Enter
Type LIST DISK and press Enter
Use the disk sizes to differentiate between internal and USB disks in your computer.
Note: The USB will has a GPT disk scheme, and you can identify that by asterisk “*” under the GPT column Infront of USB drive. Also the internal disk will probably has an MBR scheme, and you can know that by the absence of asterisk “*” under the GPT column.
Select the internal disk using this command
SEL DISK 0
If you have more than one disk, select the disk that you want to install windows on or that contains old windows according to its total size.
Type LIST PART and press ENTER
if you have more than three partitions on the selected disk, you have to delete one partition, because you can’t convert the disk to GPT if the disk has more than 3 partitions.
But before the deletion step, you have to copy your files to anther partition, and take care to not delete Windows, Boot or Recovery partitions.
How to copy important files before deleting a partition while on WinRE?
To copy all your files from the partition that you will remove to another partition or to external disk do the followings:
Press Shift + R keys to open another CMD window
Type NOTEPAD and press Enter
From File tab, select Open option
Click on This PC icon to show your partitions
Copy the entire partition that you will delete or just copy the important files to external USB drive.
The copy progress notification will not be shown, but unresponsiveness of mouse cursor is the indicator that the copy process is still on progress.
How to know which partition to delete?
Make sure not to delete Windows partition, Boot partition or Recovery partition, because converting the disk to GPT without formatting will fail when deleting one of the mentioned partitions, and you will lose all data on the disk if decided to convert the disk using another method. In my case, I identified the disk to be deleted from its total size, but you have to identify all partitions using DIR /A followed by partition number command to show their contents as followings:
DIR /A C:\
As you can see on the video, the C partition is reserved for Boot files, as indicated by Boot folder, the D reserved for windows or system files, as indicated by Users, Windows and Program files folders. The E is the recovery partition as indicated by Recovery folder. And the F partition is a storage partition in which I stored my files. Refer to this topic for more details in how to differentiate between all partitions.
Select the partition that you will delete using SEL PART command followed by the partition number.
In my case, I will delete partition number four, using this command:
SEL PART 4
Type this command to delete the selected partition
Execute LIST PART again to confirm that the partition was deleted.
As you can see on the video, I have only three partitions after deleting the fourth one.
Type EXIT and press Enter to exit DISKPART.
How to use MBR2GPT Command from WinRE?
Type BCDEDIT to determine the letter of windows partition
In my case the D is the windows partition, so I will change CMD path to system32 folder using this command:
CD /D D:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32
Now, execute this command to convert the disk from MBR to GPT without losing data:
As you can see, the disk is converted to GPT as indicated by the successful message.
After converting the disk to GPT, your computer will not boot into windows normally unless you rebuild the BCD file. Also you can’t go back to MBR without losing all data on the disk.
Now, open BIOS settings as you have seen previously.
Navigate to Boot option and change Boot mode to UEFI.
Back to Security tab and enable Secure Boot
BIOS settings and boot options are different from computer to computer, based on firmware or hardware manufacturer. So you have to search for boot and related options in all panels, or search google to see how to change boot mode in your specific PC model.
Navigate to Exit panel and click on Exit Saving Changes option to close BIOS settings.
After that, boot from the USB, so you can install windows without errors.
Refer to this link for more details about converting MBR disk to GPT and related errors.
To see all mentioned solutions step by step, watch the following video: