Can’t install Windows on hard drive or SSD? Try this

The selected disk has a GPT partition style

When we are going to install Windows on a new computer, or on a hard drive, we may find that, just at the moment of selecting the disk or partition where we are going to install it, this error message appears.

This message can appear for many reasons. Some of the most common that we can find are the following:

  • We are trying to install a 32-bit Windows.
  • We tried to install Windows in GPT from MBR media.
  • We tried to install Windows from Legacy BIOS (not UEFI) on a GPT disk.

Whatever the reason, we have two possible solutions. The first one will be to convert our disk to MBR to make it compatible with our current configuration (not recommended), and the second will be to configure the PC and create a suitable installation medium to be able to install Windows on the GPT disk without problems.

Create an installation USB for GPT

The first of the solutions, since it is usually the most common error as well, is create an installation USB that allows us to install the operating system on a GPT drive. To do this, the first thing we will need is the ISO image of Windows 10 or Windows 11, depending on the system we want to install. We can download this image using either Microsoft’s “Windows Media Creation Tool” or from the Windows 11 download page.

If we opt for the first option, the Microsoft media creation tool will allow us to create an installation USB for the operating system. This USB, in theory, should be compatible with both MBR and GPT, in order to install Windows on both systems. But, the truth is that many users usually give them problems. We can try this wizard if we want to try to save ourselves the next step. But, if not, at least we will have to use it to download the ISO of the system.

Wizard to update or download Windows 10 ISO - 3

Once we have the ISO image on our computer, we can choose another tool to create the GPT compatible installation USE: Rufus. This program is intended for create bootable USB drives easily with which to boot any operating system on the PC.

Starting from the fact that we have already downloaded the ISO of the operating system, the next step will be to choose the USB drive where we are going to copy the system (in the “Device” section), and select the Windows ISO image in the program. And, once done, we will look at two points:

  • Partition scheme: here we will have to select “GPT”.
  • Target system: we will choose UEFI (not CSM).

Rufus UEFI

For the rest, we will leave the default parameters that Rufus loads for us and we will click on “Start” to begin the process of formatting and creating the installation USB.

At the end we will have a USB with which we can install Windows on a GPT disk without any problem. We restart the computer, boot from this USB and we should no longer have any problems at all.

Enable UEFI boot

If after performing the previous step we still have the same problem, then the reason is not the installation media itself, but the BIOS settings. As we have explained, in GPT you can only install and boot systems in UEFI mode, so if we have the system configured in Legacy BIOS mode (compatibility mode for older systems), the wizard will not be able to continue.

What we must do in this case is restart the computer and enter the BIOS/UEFI of our system to configure it. Depending on the manufacturer of the computer, this can be one way or another. But the important thing is that there will be a section (surely quite visible) from which we can change the system mode.

We will can choose between “Legacy” or “OPROM” mode, and “UEFI” mode. And depending on the selected mode we can also choose a mixed mode to be able to start in both ways (although we do not recommend it).

Enable UEFI mode

We select the “UEFI Mode”, we save the changes and that’s it. We can now try to install Windows on the hard drive or SSD again without the GPT drive error.

Convert hard drive to MBR

Another solution that we can find for this problem is convert target hard drive from GPT to MBR. And we can do this in several different ways depending on whether we have access to Windows or not.

Using diskpart

Diskpart is a tool that is included as part of the essential Windows tools to be able to run from CMD. If we are already in the installation process, we can open the Windows command window by pressing the keyboard shortcut Shift + F10. If it doesn’t work, what we will have to do is start the installation again from scratch, but in the first window we see, where the “Install now” button, select the “Repair the computer” option to enter the “Fix problems” and “command prompt”.

Install Windows 11 - Step 3

Once we have the CMD window at hand, we go with the commands. The first that we will execute, to open the tool, will be:


Next, we will list all the hard drives connected to the computer using the command:

list disk

We must pay close attention to the number assigned to the hard drive that we want to convert. This will also appear as being formatted in GPT. We will select this unit to be able to work with it with:

select disk número

And, immediately afterwards, we will simply have to execute the following two commands to convert the current drive from GPT to MBR:

clean convert mbr

Ready. Our drive will no longer be in GPT and we will be able to install Windows without problems on that drive.

with programs

If using the CMD commands is difficult for us, we will also be able to resort to the use of third-party programs to make this change without losing the data. One of the simplest and fastest that we can find is EaseUS Partition Master. With it, we will only have to select the unit that we want to convert and click on the button that allows us to make the change.

EaseUS Partition Master MBR GPT

Another similar program to carry out this task is MiniTool Partition Wizard. Similarly, with this program we can convert the partition table of any hard drive from GPT to MBR.

MiniTool Partition Wizard - MBR to GPT

In both cases, yes, we will have to format, which will mean losing all the data that we had saved on the unit. Therefore, first of all, it is better to make a backup of all of them.

Solution to “The selected disk has an MBR partition style” error

Just as we can find an error that prevents us from installing the system on a hard drive in GPT format, we can also find the same error, but referring to the fact that the destination unit has an MBR-style partition.

If we run into this problem, we should know that the solutions are the same as we have just seen, but just changing the options to match the desired file system. That is, with MBR.

On the one hand, we can use the media creation tool, or Rufus, to create an MBR compatible installation USB. Thanks to it we will be able to select the partition of our hard disk and create the disk without problems.

We can also change the system BIOS/UEFI settings to enable “OPROM” or “Legacy BIOS” mode to be able to install the system using this partition system (although we will lose security).

And, finally, follow the steps that we have seen previously to convert disk from MBR to GPT using diskpart with the difference that instead of executing the “convert MBR” command that we saw in the previous step, we will execute the following command to convert it to GPT and thus eliminate the MBR compatibility problem:

convert GPT

The conversion from MBR to GPT does not require formatting, although, as always, it is better to make a backup of the data.

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