How to Clone GPT to MBR SSD? (Worry-Free Tutorial)

Posted by @Teresa

October 17, 2018

What should you pay attention to when you clone GPT to MBR SSD disk in Windows? This tutorial shows how to clone UEFI GPT disk to MBR with secure boot.

In need of GPT to MBR clone

Changing from HDD to SSD is a good upgrading in system startup and program loading, and many users want to clone hard drive to SSD in Windows 10/8/7 to avoid time-consuming reinstallation. In the case when the HDD is formatted with GPT partition style and the SSD is in MBR, users have to clone GPT to MBR to get things done.

In general, GPT partition style is newly and super to MBR. That’s why so many people want to clone MBR HDD to GPT SSD. Nevertheless, to use GPT formatted disk with troubles devoid, there are some matters needs to be heeded.

  • GPT formatted data disk works on both 32 bit and 64 bit computers. However, GPT formatted SYSTEM disk is only supported on 64 bit Windows.

  • The computer should have a motherboard with an UEFI based firmware. With that firmware, the GPT formatted system disk can boot up successfully.

Those are two essential requirements for booting Windows GPT partition layout. Therefore, for computers that without the features, MBR partition style is a good way to go. Then, some other things on cloning GPT to MBR SSD also need your attention.

Matters to pay attention on cloning GPT to MBR disk

As covered, UEFI based firmware ensures GPT disk boot up. On the contrary, Legacy based firmware helps boot MBR disk. So you’ll need to change the boot mode from UEFI to Legacy after cloning.

The other thing that matters a lot is the primary partition numbers. It is known to all that MBR partition layout supports up to 4 primary partitions or 3 primary partitions plus 1 extended partition (which could contains unlimited logical drives). While all partitions on GPT disk are primary partitions and the number of partitions could reach to 128 at most (also accounted for why so many people convert MBR to GPT).

Suppose you have a GPT disk partition into 5, these partitions will be changed after cloning to MBR disk. The cloning process won’t even complete, with the help of unqualified cloning tool, at the worst preparation. As a result, it is suggested to merge partitions before cloning, or perform system clone first and then do partition clone to move the rest partitions.

After clearing away the blind spot of cloning from GPT to MBR disk, it is time to get to know how to do the cloning.

How to clone GPT to MBR SSD step by step?

To clone a HDD to an SSD, reliable cloning software is required in particular. Cloning to SSD is a little different comparing to cloning HDD to HDD since partitions need to be aligned along the SSD block boundaries. AOMEI Backupper Professional is comprehensive UEFI disk cloning software that will help you clone GPT to MBR SSD drive and take care of the partition alignment.

The software offers intelligent clone (copy only used part) and sector-by-sector clone (a good way to recover deleted or lost files) for different situations. For instance, the first method allows you to clone GPT to smaller SSD as long as it can accommodate all used data.

The Create Bootable Media feature gives you an option to clone UEFI GPT disk without booting Windows. You can clone only system drive from GPT to MBR with System Clone as well. Windows 10, 8, 7, XP, Vista supported. Get it and have a try.

To clone GPT disk in Windows:

Note: the target MBR SSD will be overwritten after cloning. Backup files to external drive or another safe place if the need ever arises.

1. Connect via SATA-to-USB cable or install the SSD to your machine. Install and run AOMEI Backupper Professional.

2. Click Disk Clone under Clone tab.

Disk Clone

3. Select the UEFI GPT disk as the source disk.

Source GPT Disk

4. Select the MBR SSD as the destination disk.

Destination MBR SSD

5. At the Operation Summary page, check Align partition to optimize for SSD and then click Start Clone.

Start Clone

  • Sector by sector clone: by checking this option you’ll clone all sectors from GPT to MBR SSD, whether it is used or not. This method takes longer time as well.

  • Edit partitions on the destination disk: three options are available in this feature. You can copy without resizing partitions, add unused space to all partitions, or adjust partition size manually. Checking sector by sector clone will make this option unavailable.

6. Shut down your PC after the cloning progress finishes. Power on your machine and keep tapping a specific key (Del or F2) to enter the boot startup. If you do not know which key to press, just press Esc. It will give you the full menu, and then you can select BIOS Setup.

7. You’ll find Legacy/UEFI boot under the Boot tab. Just disable UEFI and enable Legacy. Press F10 to save the changes and exit. Restart your computer then.

Change UEFI to Legacy

To backup GPT disk and restore to MBR SSD:

In case you don’t have an USB-to-SATA cable, AOMEI Backupper also provides a way to backup UEFI GPT disk and then restore to MBR SSD. This powerful software even allows you to restore system image to a different new computer with dissimilar hardware with the assist of Dissimilar Hardware Restore feature. Here comes the brief step.

1. Backup system drive by clicking Backup and then System Backup (or Disk Backup accordingly).

System Backup

All system-related drives are selected by default. Choose the destination path here. You have choices to backup system to USB flash drive, external drive, NAS, network share, etc. Click Start Backup and wait for it completes.

3. Connect a USB drive to your PC and go Utilities > Create Bootable Media to create an AOMEI Backupper Professional pre-installed bootable media.

Create Bootable USB Drive

4. Turn off your computer and replace the GPT disk with MBR SSD manually. Google a video on how to replace hard drive would be helpful.

5. Insert the bootable media and power on, and change boot order in BIOS if necessary. Once logged in, you’ll see AOMEI Backupper loaded. Click Restore, access to the backup image and then follow the on-screen guide to continue.

Restore System Image

Verdict

Two available ways are offered by AOMEI Backupper Professional when it comes to clone GPT to MBR disk in Windows. Choose the one that is most suitable for your situation. Apart from clone and backup functions, you can also do real-time sync with said software to keep data protected instantly.