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Short for GUID Partition Table, GPT is a part of the EFI standard that defines the layout of the partition table on a hard drive. GPT is meant as a replacement to hard drives using a MBR partition table, which have a 2.20TB size limitation and extends upon UEFI. Using GPT a drive could support between 8 and 9.4 ZB depending on the sector size.

If you're using a version of Windows that supports GPT while setting up a drive in Disk Management you will receive a prompt similar to the example below. Selecting GPT and clicking Ok will initialize the disk as a GPT partition style.

Initializing Disk using GPT

How do I know if my hard drive is using GPT or MBR?

Use the diskpart command to determine if your drive is using a GPT or MBR.

  1. Open a Windows command line window.
  2. Type diskpart and press enter. If prompted for a UAC prompt click ok.
  3. At the DISKPART> prompt type list disk and press enter. This should give you an output similar to the example below. If GPT is enabled you have a mark under the GPT column for each drive with GPT enabled.
 Disk ### Status Size Free Dyn Gpt
-------- ------------- ------- ------- --- ---
Disk 0 Online 119 GB 0 B
Disk 1 Online 119 GB 119 GB
Disk 2 Online 2047 GB 0 B
Disk 3 No Media 0 B 0 B
Disk 4 No Media 0 B 0 B
Disk 5 No Media 0 B 0 B
Disk 6 No Media 0 B 0 B

Also see: GUID, Partition