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 determine which style they're using on Windows 10.

MBR vs GPT partition style on Windows 10

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 simply describes how data is stored on the drive, its boundaries (start and end), and it includes the instructions to make the partition bootable. MBR and GPT are just two different styles to partition a drive. The Master Boot Record (MBR) is the older style, and it’s the most compatible, but it’s some limitations, such as support for drives of up to 2TB.

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

If you’re running 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’ll learn the steps to find out if a formatted hard drive is using the MBR or GPT partition style.

How to determine MBR or GPT partition style using Disk Management

To know the partition style a particular disk is using on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

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

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

    Disk Management disk properties option
    Disk Management disk properties option
  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 partition on drive
    Check MBR or GPT partition on drive

Once you completed the steps, you’ll know which partition style the disk is using.

How to determine MBR or GPT partition style using Command Prompt

You can also use Command Prompt to check if the drive is using GPT or MBR using 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 is using GPT, then you’ll see an asterisk character (*) under the “Gpt” column. If you don’t see the asterisk character (*), then the drive is using the MBR scheme.

    Check GPT or MBR partition style using Command Prompt
    Check GPT or MBR partition style using Command Prompt

After completing the steps, you’ll know which partition style the disk is using.

How to determine MBR or GPT partition style using PowerShell

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

    Check MBR or GPT partition style using PowerShell
    Check MBR or GPT partition style using PowerShell

Once you’ve completed the steps, you’ll have an understanding of the partition style that the hard drive is using on Windows 10.

This guide focuses on Windows 10, but you can use these instructions on Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 too.