Two Different Methods to Partition a Hard Drive

It Is Necessary to Partition Your Hard Drive

We often hear this saying – say do not put all your eggs in one basket. It also applies to the data in computer. Imaging that you have a new hard drive (without partitioning) that contains not only system, but also all kinds of files, what will happen? Maybe you will get unexpected data loss or even system crash if you delete system files by accident.

Therefore, it is very necessary to partition a hard drive to manage various files better. Let’s take a look at the benefits of partitioning a hard drive:

Firstly, improve data security. If the system partition is invaded by viruses, the data saved in other partitions may avoid the disaster.

Secondly, have multiple file systems. Different partitions on a hard drive can be set with different file systems to improve your computer experience. 

Thirdly, have multiple operating systems. You may install dual or multiple operating systems on computer on the basis of different needs.

Fourthly, back up data easier. It will be much easier when you need to back up data in a particular partition.

However, improper hard drive partition may lead to some cases, such as disk space wasting. So, so take care when you partition a hard drive.

What Are Two Methods to Partition a Hard Drive

When you install a new hard drive on computer and then open Disk Management, a prompt you will get to inform you to initialize the drive to MBR or GPT. What do MBR or GPT stand for? 

Actually, MBR and GPT are two different kinds of hard drive partition. They have partition information including the partition starting and ending. So, the operating system can recognize which partition is bootable and which sector belongs to which partition.


MBR, short for Master Boot Record, was first introduced with IBM PC DOS 2.0 in 1980s. It is a special type of boot sector located at the beginning of a storage device.

Master boot sector lies on the first sector of the hard drive. MBR is comprised of three parts: MBR, DPT and Magic number.

A MBR disk supports up to 4 primary partitions or 3 primary partitions plus one extended partition. Thus, if you initiate a hard drive to MBR, you can create 4 primary partitions or 3 primary partitions plus one extended partition.


GPT stand for Globally Partition Table, a part of EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface), is a new standard. As each partition has a “globally unique identifier”, a random string, each GPT partition has its own unique identifier.

GUID Partition Table mainly concludes the following parts:

PMBR: It locates in the first sector of GPT drive to prevent the partitioning tools (that don’t support GPT) from operating data on the hard drive. 

GPT HDR: Occupying a single sector starting from LBA1, it is used to define the location and size of the partition table. 

Partition Table: Occupying LBA2~LBA33, it can hold 128 partition table entries with each size of 128 bytes.

Differences between MBR Disk and GPT Disk

Apart from the different number of supported partitions, there are still other differences between the two kinds of hard drive partitioning.

  1. Boot mode

MBR disk boots in the BIOS mode, while GPT disk boots in the UEFI mode.

  1. Supported hard disk space 

MBR supports the hard drive size with no more than 2TB. If you need to initiate a hard drive (larger than 2TB) to MBR, the extra 1TB space can’t be used as it only shows 2TB.

However, each partition of GPT disk is 9.4ZB. In actual use, this size depends on the operating system. In Windows, a GPT disk size is limited to 256TB.

  1. Security

On MBR disk, as the partitioning and boot data are saved in the same place, you will be caught in trouble once they get corrupted. GPT disk stores multiple copies of such data, so it is safer and easier to recover it when it is damaged.

Create Partitions on Hard Drive

After initializing a new hard drive that generally a whole partition, you need to divide it into multiple partitions to store different types of data.

Method 1: Partition Hard Drive with Disk Management

Step 1: Shrink the partition to get unallocated space

Open Disk Management. Right click the partition and choose Shrink Volume. 

Step 2: Create new partitions with unallocated space 

You will get unallocated space after shrinking the partition. Right click the unallocated space and then pick up option New Simple Volume. Enter the size of the partition and choose a file system: FAT32, NTFS or exFAT. 

Method 2: Partition Hard Drive with Partition Wizard

You can also use a piece of third-party partition software to partition a hard drive, or conduct other operations that Disk Management doesn’t support. MiniTool Partition Wizard is a perfect choice.

Here is the guide of how to partition a hard drive in Windows by using this software.

Step 1: Launch Partition Wizard to get the main interface. Click on the partition and select Move/Resize Partition option

Step 2: Drag the blue handle to get unallocated space. 

Step 3: Click on the unallocated space and choose Create. On Create New Partition window, you need to choose the partition type, file system, drive letter and enter size for the new partition. 

Step 4: Hit Apply to make the changes effective. 

How to Convert MBR to GPT

If you intend to convert MBR disk to GPT disk due to some reasons, please follow this tutorial to make it. 

Open Partition Wizard to enter the main interface.

Click on the MBR disk, and select Convert MBR Disk to GPT Disk from the left panel.

Hit Apply on the upper left to execute the change.

If you need to convert GPT to MBR, just refer to this method, but choose the option Convert GPT Disk to MBR Disk.


Reading here, you may get to know the two partitioning method – MBR & GPT, and the difference between them. In addition, MBR to GPT or GPT to MBR converting is usually seen in our daily usage. So, partition software can help you manage disk or partition better.

Please feel free to contact us or leaving comments if you have any idea or questions about the information displayed above. Hope this post would be helpful for you. 

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