MBR vs GPT

How to check if drive uses GPT or MBR partition style on Windows 10

Drives can use two types of partition styles, including MBR and GTP, and in this guide, you'll learn how to determine which style they're using on Windows 10.

Windows 10 check MBR or GPT

On Windows 10, you can use two types of partition styles, including the legacy Master Boot Record (MBR) or the newer GUID Partition Table (GPT).

A partition describes how data is stored on the drive, and its boundaries (start and end), and it includes the instructions to make the partition bootable. In the universe of Windows, the Master Boot Record (MBR) is the older style, and it is the most compatible, but it has some limitations, such as support for drives of up to 2TB of storage per portion.

On the other hand, the GUID Partition Table (GPT) is the newer style that overcomes the limitations of MBR, which include support for larger drivers and an unlimited number of partitions. Also, other advantages include data integrity check and self-recovery, and partition and boot data are stored in multiple places within the disk.

If you have the 64-bit version of Windows 10, Windows 8.1, or Windows 7 on a device using Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) firmware, you should be using the GPT style. However, if you need a more compatible system using older hardware, then MBR should be the choice.

In this guide, you will learn the steps to find out if a formatted hard drive is using the MBR or GPT partition style.

Check MBR or GPT partition style using Disk Management

To check the partition style of a drive Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Start on Windows 10.

  2. Search for Disk Management and click the top result to open the app.

  3. Right-click the disk (not the partition) and select the Properties option.

    Disk Management properties

  4. Click the Volumes tab.

  5. Check the “Partition style” field, which will tell you if the hard drive is formatted using the Master Boot Record (MBR) or GUID Partition Table (GPT) style.

    Check MBR or GPT

Once you complete the steps, you will know which partition style the drive uses on Windows 10.

Check MBR or GPT partition style using Command Prompt

To determine  if the drive uses GPT or MBR with Command Prompt, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.

  3. Type the following commands to determine the drive partition scheme and press Enter on each line:

    Diskpart
    List disk  
  4. If the drive uses GPT, you’ll see an asterisk character (*) under the “Gpt” column. If you don’t see the asterisk character (*), the drive is using the MBR scheme.

    Command Prompt check MBR or GPT

After you complete the steps, you will know which partition style the drive uses.

Check MBR or GPT partition style using PowerShell

Alternatively, it is also possible to use a PowerShell command to determine if the drive is using the MBR or GPT partition style.

To use PowerShell to determine whether the drive uses MBR or GPT, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for PowerShell, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.

  3. Type the following commands to determine the drive partition scheme and press Enter:

    Get-Disk
  4. Under the “Partition Style” column, you can determine if the drive uses the MBR or GPT scheme.

    PowerShell check MBR or GPT

Once you complete the steps, you will have an understanding of the partition style that the hard drive is using on Windows 10.