Convert MBR drive to GPT to enable UEFI and Secure Boot for Windows 11

If your PC is still in BIOS mode, you need to enable UEFI and Secure Boot to upgrade to Windows 11, and here's what you need to do.

Convert MBR to GPT command
Convert MBR to GPT command
  • To convert from MBR to GPT for Windows 11, on Windows 10, restart the device in the “Windows Recovery Environment” settings, open Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Command Prompt, and run the “mbr2gpt /validate” and “mbr2gpt /convert” commands. Once you have done the conversion, in the BIOS, enable the UEFI mode and Secure Boot.

If you plan to upgrade to Windows 11 and you enable Secure Boot, the computer won’t probably start anymore because the hard drive is using the MBR (Master Boot Record) partition table instead of the GPT (GUID Partition Table), which is a requirement to use Windows in UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) mode and enable Secure Boot.

This is not a problem if you are about to perform a clean installation since the previous setup will be erased, but it will be an issue when trying to do an in-place upgrade because you want to keep your files, settings, and apps. However, there is an easy fix. Windows 10 includes a tool known as mbr2gpt that allows you to convert a drive using an MBR partition to GPT, and you can access it from the Advanced Options environment.

In this guide, you will learn how to convert a drive using MBR to GPT to properly switch from BIOS to UEFI and enable Secure Boot to upgrade a Windows 10 setup to Windows 11.

Convert Windows 10 MBR drive to GPT for Windows 11

If you switched to UEFI and enabled Secure Boot, you must switch back to legacy BIOS to allow the device to boot again into Windows 10. You can use the same steps you used before. Then you need to boot the device into the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) to convert the MBR drive to GPT using the mbr2gpt command-line tool. The easiest way to open the recovery settings is by using the Settings app, but there are several other ways to access the environment.

Step 1: Access WinRE

To access the Windows Recovery Environment, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings on Windows 10.

  2. Click on Update & Security.

  3. Click on Recovery.

  4. Under the “Advanced startup” section, click the Restart button.

    Advanced Startup button

Once you complete the steps, this action will log you out immediately of your current session to access the startup experience.

Step 2: Convert MBR drive to GPT with mbr2gpt tool

To convert a drive from MBR to GPT, use these steps:

  1. Click on Troubleshoot.

    Troubleshoot option

  2. Click on Advanced options.

    Advanced options

  3. Click the Command Prompt option.

    Command Prompt option

  4. Select your administrator account and sign in with your credentials (as necessary).

  5. Type the following command to validate that the drive can be converted and press Enter:

    mbr2gpt /validate

    mbr2gpt validate command

  6. Type the following command to convert the system drive to GPT from MBR and press Enter:

    mbr2gpt /convert

    mbr2gpt convert command

  7. Type the following command to close the console and press Enter:

  8. Click the Turn off your PC option.

When using the mbr2gpt command-line tool, only the system drive will be converted to GPT unless to modify the command and specify which drives to convert.

The last thing left to do is switch to firmware mode to UEFI and enable Secure Boot to meet all Windows 11 requirements.

Step 3: Switch from BIOS to UEFI and enable Secure Boot

To switch from BIOS to UEFI and enable Secure Boot for Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Power on firmware.

    Quick note: The steps to access and modify the firmware settings will vary per manufacturer and computer model. It’s recommended to consult your device manufacturer support website for more specific details. However, typically, you can access the firmware during boot by pressing the Delete, Esc, or one of the Function keys.
  2. Navigate to the boot sequence, advanced, or boot settings page, depending on your motherboard.

  3. Turn off the legacy BIOS and enable UEFI mode.

  4. Depending on the motherboard, navigate to the advanced, security, or boot settings page.

  5. Select the “Secure Boot” option and choose the Enabled option.

Once you complete the steps, the computer should boot up correctly, allowing you to continue the Windows 11 upgrade process with UEFI and Secure Boot enabled.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].