Meta: Follow these quick tips to fix Windows Cannot Be Installed to This Disk MBR error message. Here is a step-by-step process to change MBR to GPT!

How to Fix ‘Windows Cannot Be Installed to This Disk MBR’

The error ‘Windows Cannot Be Installed to This Disk MBR’ is very common on old computers that were running with Windows XP, Vista, 7, or 8 versions. As we know the Windows operating system can only be installed on a GPT system hard drive partition, if you are encountering this error message, you may need to convert the hard drive partition.

When your operating system doesn’t behave as expected, you may want to reinstall the operating system however if you encounter the error ‘Windows Cannot Be Installed to This Disk MBR’ you may get stuck. Here in this article, you will understand how this is different and how to fix if the selected disk is of the GPT partition style.

 

GPT vs MBR

MBR stands for Master Boot Record that is the special boot sector at the beginning of the hard drive that loads the operating system and its settings. This space holds the boot loader of the operating system that triggers the POST (Power on Self-Test) and loads the operating system. This MBR formatted disk has a limitation of managing hard drive space of up to 2 TB disk space with not more than 4 primary partitions.

GPT stands for GUID (Global Unique Identifier) Partition Table, a new method of creating hard drive partitions. Old computers used to come with BIOS + MBR while the new partition system consists of a UEFI + GPT file system. GPT formatted hard drive doesn’t have any limitations of partitions or capacity thus allows you to use unlimited partitions or capacity. This Microsoft Document can put more light on the main differences between GPT vs MBR.

GPT offers a flexible mechanism of partitioning Hard Disk Drive than the traditional Master Boot Record (MBR). Although you can have an unlimited number of partitions, however the maximum possible partitions on one GPT disk can be 128 partitions. Any disk can’t be both GPT and MBR formatted but every GPT has a protective MBR sector to protect the GPT disk from earlier MBR disk tools like Microsoft Windows NT Disk Administrator tool or Microsoft MS-DOS FDISK tool.

 

BIOS vs UEFI

 

BIOS is Basic Input Output System, a firmware that is preloaded on your motherboard and loads as you press the power button. It checks all the hardware components and ensures that are running fine before it loads the computer. BIOS loads Boot Loader that loads Windows operating system. BIOS-based computers are slower than the newly introduced UEFI systems.

UEFI stands for Unified Extensible Firmware Interface that is the newer version of the firmware. It is much faster than BIOS and has new features and advantages over the traditional BIOS firmware. The functionality of UEFI is the same as BIOS but the processing is much faster than BIOS. UEFI has all the information about the hardware and boot loader hence it takes one-fourth time to load the computer to the desktop.

How to Fix Windows Cannot Be Installed to This Disk MBR Error

There are a few manual methods that a professional can try if he has all the data backed up and ready to experiment with the hard drive partitions.

 

Change BIOS Boot Settings

BIOS boot setting allows you to change the UEFI boot configuration. You can switch the EFI boot partition to SATA or Legacy mode. This will help you install Windows to Legacy + MBR compatible devices.

Step 1. Restart the computer and keep tapping Del / F10 / F1 / F12 / Esc keys depending on the BIOS version. Every motherboard manufacturer has a different key combination to enter the BIOS.

Step 2. Enter the Boot Devices and look for Boot Order.

Step 3. Disable EFI source or change the boot sequence of DVD drive from Legacy to UEFI Mode.

Step 4. Press Esc to exit and save changes. Boot the device with your installation disk in the CD Drive.

Convert MBR to GPT in Command Prompt

This is a little tricky process to convert the MBR to GPT style. Once you have changed the bootable media, plug in the installation media or insert the installation disk and shut down the computer.

Step 1. Restart the computer and press Shift + F10 on the startup screen.

Step 2. It will open the command prompt window. Type Diskpart in the command prompt and hit the Enter key.

Step 3. Type list disk and hit Enter to list out hard disks connected to your PC.

Step 4. The disk numbers start from Disk 0, Disk 1, and so on.

Step 5. Type select disk and enter the disk number. Select Disk 0 and hit the Enter key.

Step 6. Type clean and hit the Enter key to clean the disk partition.

Step 7. Type convert GPT or convert MBR depending on the error message and hit the Enter key. This step will convert the MBR style format to a GPT type partition. This will allow GPT format to install and finish the installation. Exit out of the command prompt and continue with the Windows installation. Remember, this will clean the disk and erase complete data from the disk partition.

Use AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional

If all of these options are difficult for you to perform, you can try the automated process to fix Windows cannot be installed to this disk MBR or the selected disk is of the GPT partition style. You can use this application to convert MBR to GPT without data loss. AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional is easy to download and install. The process of conversion is easy and just with a few clicks, you can Convert to GPT or Convert to MBR. Simply Apply the settings and it’s done!

Summing Up

Windows Cannot Be Installed to This Disk MBR or Windows cannot be installed to this disk GPT are serious issues and may lead to data loss while dealing with these issues. If you can’t follow the step-by-step process, it’s better to use the automated method of using the best Partition Manager. This automated method is error-free and can fix the issue just with a few clicks. Happy Computing!

 

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