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Conversion MBR to GPT possible without loss of data ?

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Forum Member
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Hello Steve,

as far as I know a conversion from MBR to GPT without data loss is not possible without special tools. Or is it possible with ATIH or Disk Director?

If not, can you  recover an image, which was backed up under MBR conditions, to a GPT partition without losing the GPT properties?

Thank you and kind regards

Joern

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#1

Hello Joern,

Please take a read through the ATIH 2017 User Guide: Migration method sections which discusses the options for converting from MBR to GPT where the focus is primarily on doing this when cloning.

See also in the User Guide: Partition style after recovery where this is discussed in a recovery scenario.

In essence, as I understand this, you would be doing a backup and restore in order to perform the conversion when using Acronis True Image to do this type of conversion.

There are dedicated Partition Manager programs that can also do this without the need to do a backup/restore or clone, see webpage: Convert MBR Disk to GPT Disk from the MiniTool Partition Wizard site but note that to convert a System drive to GPT would require the advanced version of this tool as the free version will only convert a data drive.

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#2

qSteve Smith

Hello Steve,

I just found out, that conversion MBR --> GPT without data loss can be done in Windows 10 directly. But you must have Creator's Update 1703 installed! https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/deployment/mbr-to-gpt

Regards

Joern

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#3

Joern, thank you for the update and link - have avoided the Creator's Update so far until it actually is offered as part of the normal roll-out for my computers.  There looks to have been quite a few teething problems for other users being reported for this one, such that Microsoft have stopped or delayed the roll-out (to avoid bad press?).

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#4

Steve, they (MS) have done really everything to deserve bad press in the course of their updates!!!

Regards

Joern

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#5

Joern:

Thank you for the link to a description of Microsoft's new MBR2GPT conversion utility! I hadn't been aware of this until now. It looks like a simpler way to convert MBR system disks to GPT.

If you are not yet willing to install the Creator's update (personally, I have had no problems with it) to take advantage of the MBR2GPT utility then I can suggest an alternative that uses some of Microsoft's built-in tools plus Acronis True Image to do the conversion. The method requires that you have your favorite version of a Windows 10 installation DVD or flash drive and is outlined in the following post in the TrueImage 2016 forum: https://forum.acronis.com/forum/101550?page=1#comment-378095

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#6

Mark:

Thanks for reply.

I'm not sure, whether in the method proposed existing data will be at loss !

Regards

Joern

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#7

Joern:

I didn't lose any data when converting three MBR PCs to UEFI boot.

If you save an image of your current MBR disk using Acronis True Image, then you can always restore the saved image if something does go wrong.

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#8

Mark:

If it was as easy as that, then you could just format the disk in GPT style and and recover the image in MBR style --> done!

Don't think that works. IMHO that would result in a disk with the former MBR style. See post #1 !

Regards

Joern

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#9

Joern,

Did you have a look at the link posted by Steve: "http://www.acronis.com/en-us/support/documentation/ATI2017/index.html#22788.html" ?

If not please look at the "Partition style after recovery" section of that link and at the second recovery method "My source disk is MBR and my OS supports UEFI" and then look at the last column stating "The destination partition will be converted to GPT style that will make the destination disk bootable in UEFI."

As the link describes if your PC supports UEFI and you recover a backup created from an MBR source disk to a destination disk the recovered image becomes a converted UEFI bootable GPT format disk.

The key here is that you boot your PC in UEFI mode using the True Image Recovery Media first.  Once you do that and then recover the backup image to the destination disk that destination disk will be converted to GPT format and True Image will create the necessary UEFI boot partition to make the disk bootable.

This works because in order for a machine to boot using UEFI requires a GPT format disk.  True Image is aware of this so when you first boot your PC using the Recovery Media in UEFI mode, the application will recognize that you are recovering an image of a bootable OS system disk and will setup the selected destination drive to boot.  In this case as a UEFI/GPT disk after which the selected backup image is written to the disk.

 

 

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#10

Dr. Joern Behnke wrote:

Mark:

Thanks for reply.

I'm not sure, whether in the method proposed existing data will be at loss !

Regards

Joern

 

Microsoft's tool does not result in data loss.  I can't say the same for any other method you might be talking about.  The tool works because it doesn't even touch your system partition.

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#11

Mbr to GPT conversion works well with Acronis with no data loss. HOWEVER, when messing with partitions, you should always have a full disk backup of some kind... this is something Acronis does in spades. There is no full proof plan that is 100% guaranteed ( like a power outage during a conversion process or a hardware failure or something unexpected like that). 

The other key in the Acronis process is that you should be taking a backup first. You are then restoring the backup which does the conversion in the process. Should something go wrong, or the Bios not support GPT booting at all, then you restore your backup as legacy again and there is no data loss because of the backup.

Microsofts conversion sounds great, but if you think it's going to work 100% for everyone, especially in its infancy, Where can I place my bets? I stand to make a lot of money :)

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#12

So, seems the last post to this thread was ~ 1 year ago.  Since that time, I've read (I think with the confines of the User Forum(s) that using ATI (2016/17/18) for convert an existing MBR SYSTEM bootable disk to a GPT/UEFI bootable system disk may or may not be simple.  Let me just present a simple situation and request feedback.  Have a win 10 (1709 plus variant) x64.  Systemboard IS capable to boot to either a mbr or Uefi/GPT system disk... normally I have C.S.M. (capatibiltySupport mode) enable in the bios...Now I realize that Microsoft has a tool to to the conversion...robust or not?

I have a few systems, running Win10 x64 that somehow were setup and now I realize are mbr..  For what seems like a more robust system (?) I'd like to convert these to x64-GPT-UEFI mode.  Doing a bare-metal reinstall seems not worth it.  So, I pose the following:

1. If boot to ATI MBR mode WinPE rescue flash (made with MVP), and from the environment make a FULL system disk Image (or UEFI Flash Rescue if thats key?), Can I then boot the ATI Rescue usb IN UEFI mode, a do a bare metal restore (aka-fresh HDD/or SSD) ...will that result in a system disk with GPT & Uefi mode?

From reading various threads here, I get the impression that this would only work if the destination System Drive was somehow previously initialized to GPT/UEFI mode?

2.  Will the MiniPartion Tool perform task (not the free verson, rather the paid version)?

 

Thx

Bob

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#13

Bob, take a read through the Migration method section of the ATI 2018 User Guide which describes a number of different scenarios depending on how the Acronis Rescue Media is booted and what the computer supports in terms of Legacy / UEFI modes etc.

The above section is focussed on cloning but the same principle applies to doing backup / recovery, where the Rescue Media boot mode determines the partition mode for the target drive, so if using Legacy/CSM you will get MBR, and if using UEFI you will get GPT & UEFI conversion.

Ideally, I would recommend trying this out with a spare drive as the target with the original drive removed after making a full backup, remembering also to change the BIOS settings from selecting the boot drive for Legacy, to selecting the Windows Boot Manager for UEFI.

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#14

I have a similar query  my system disk (Sata SSD) has WIN7 installed on it, but is MBR legacy bios  boot,( installed from DVD) so wasn't configured to use UEFI , I want to migrate/clone  the system disk  to a new M2 NVME ssd, which will only boot in UEFI (GPT) mode  So the Legacy bios will also need to be converted to Uefiotherwise it will be unable to boot, i will be installing the samsung nvme  driver to my OS before i clone,will the above method work using ATI 2018 /19? thank's in advance , Also is there a safe way of doing this without making a backup disk,?

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#15
Bobbo_3C0X1 wrote:

Mbr to GPT conversion works well with Acronis with no data loss. HOWEVER, when messing with partitions, you should always have a full disk backup of some kind... this is something Acronis does in spades. There is no full proof plan that is 100% guaranteed ( like a power outage during a conversion process or a hardware failure or something unexpected like that). 

The other key in the Acronis process is that you should be taking a backup first. You are then restoring the backup which does the conversion in the process. Should something go wrong, or the Bios not support GPT booting at all, then you restore your backup as legacy again and there is no data loss because of the backup.

Microsofts conversion sounds great, but if you think it's going to work 100% for everyone, especially in its infancy, Where can I place my bets? I stand to make a lot of money :)

Bobbo,

Are you speaking from experience when you say the MBR to GPT conversion works well in Acronis? I've tried a few PC's now to convert from MBR to GPT and while Acronis reports success, they'd have various BSOD (driver power state failure, driver pnp watchdog, etc) issues in Windows, slow applications, etc. I'd spend a few days treating it like driver problems or other hard drive corruption, only to give up and restore the backup and continue using MBR with a functioning system.  The first few times, I suspected the destination SSD or the SSD adapter, but now after doing this unsuccessfully several times and seeing the restore to original MBR works without all these problems, I can only conclude the Acronis restore to GPT is broken.