Fix: “Windows 10 can’t be installed on GPT partition” installation error

By: Aleksandar Ognjanovic
5 minute read
windows 10 can't be installed on gpt partition

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Clean installation of  Windows 10 should be a work in a park, when we take into account the resources users have nowadays. However, even this simplified task has a few dead ends, errors that require the advanced approach. One of those errors appears when a user wants to perform a clean install of Windows 10 on a machine for the first time. It says that “Windows 10 can’t be installed on GPT partition” or something along those lines when they select the partition.

There are few ways to overcome this and we made sure to post them below. If you’re stuck with this error and have a hard time resolving it, make sure to check them out.

How to fix “Can’t install Windows on GPT drive” error while installing Windows 10

  1. Change the compatibility mode in BIOS/UEFI Settings
  2. Create the installation media again with a different drive
  3. Convert HDD to GPT or MBR

1: Change the compatibility mode in BIOS/UEFI Settings

First things first. The majority of the contemporary configurations support UEFI/EFI which succeded legacy BIOS and it’s an improvement in various things. However, most of the active machines still run on classic BIOS. Now, we must confirm that you can install Windows 1o on either the UEFI or BIOS mode. The important thing is to concur which is your HDD or SSD compatibility format.

Namely, back in the days, the usual partitioning format (35 years old format) was the only one and it’s the MBR (Master Boot Record). However, nowadays you have an option to choose between MBR and GPT (GUID Partition Table). And that’s where the installation issues emerge.

You can install Windows 10 on an MBR partition only if the Legacy BIOS or Hybrid mode (dual compatibility for both BIOS and UEFI) are enabled. In contrary, you won’t be able to install Windows 10 on it. On the other hand, if you have a GPT partitioning format on HDD/SSD, an old, BIOS-only motherboard will have a hard time accessing it. To find out which format your HDD has, follow the steps we provided below:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open the Run command line. Type diskmgmt.msc and press Enter.
  2. Right-click on the Volume icon in the bottom left and open Properties.windows 10 can't be installed on gpt partition
  3. Under the Volume tab, you should see whether your HDD is in MBR or GPT format.windows 10 can't be installed on gpt partition

What you’ll need to do when the error occurs is to navigate to backup your data. Always do that before formatting or doing anything even remotely related to storage. Then you should navigate to BIOS settings and enable/disable BIOS Legacy. If you have an MBR partition – enable it, and vice versa for GPT. Also, make sure to enable AHCI mode instead of IDE if you’re using large storage drives.

2: Create the installation media again with a different drive

Creating the installation media on either USB flash drive or DVD is simpler than ever. On the other hand, no matter how the Media Creation Tool makes things simpler, it’s worth giving a third-party application a chance if things won’t work for you. Even though Media Creation tool provides support for both UEFI and Legacy BIOS in its setup, Rufus can enforce one or another. When accessing the Boot menu, the UEFI-supported installation USB will have the UEFI prefix.

Example:

  • [UEFI] Kingston Traveler 8GB
  • Kingston Traveler 8GB

Another thing which should take your attention is the USB standard. Older Windows iterations won’t provide drivers for USB 3.0 when it comes to booting. So make sure to use the USB 2.0 for the system installation purposes. And, finally, if you haven’t meddled with the HDD already, make sure to update your BIOS/UEFI. This is of the utmost importance. You can find the instructions on how to do it in this article.

3: Convert HDD to GPT or MBR

Finally, you can convert MBR to GPT and vice versa with some effort. The easier way is to format the partition and convert it that way through the Windows interface or with the Command Prompt. On the other hand, there are ways to perform this transformation without losing any data. We made sure to explain this alternative in this article so make sure to give it a look. Either way, back up your data.

If you’re willing to completely format your HDD and start from a scratch or you’re stuck with a clean drive which just imposes the “Can’t install Windows on GPT drive” error, here’s how to set it to MBR:

  1. In the Windows Search bar, type CMD, right-click on the Command Prompt and run it as an administrator.windows 10 can't be installed on gpt partition
  2. In the command line, type the following commands and press Enter after each:
    • diskpart
    • list disk
  3. Now, remember the number alongside the volume you want to convert. The easiest way to determine which is which is to check the storage space. We’ll use 1 as an example below.
  4. In the command line, type the following commands and press Enter after each:
    • select disk 1
    • clean
    • convert mbrwindows 10 can't be installed on gpt partition
  5. That should do it. Now you can reboot your PC, enter the boot menu, choose to boot from the USB or DVD with the Windows 10 installation, and install Windows 10 without issues on the converted partition.

You can start the Command Prompt on the installation screen when the system boots from the USB by pressing Shift + F10. Also, this can work in the same manner if you need the GPT partition. Just replace the “convert MBR” command with “convert GPT”.

That should do it. In case you have any alternative solutions for the problem at hand or a question concerning the enlisted solutions, we encourage you to post them in the comments section below.

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