I would like to use one hard drive on an older computer that doesn't support UEFI, and have it boot from an MBR partition, while having another GPT partition which would be used to boot another Windows instance on a more modern PC. In other words I want my hard drive to be interchange-able between an old (MBR) motherboard and a modern (GPT/UEFI) motherboard.

(I notice that my older PC doesn't even detect Windows on my SSD when it is installed using UEFI, but I am able to plug it into any UEFI compliant PC and boot from it without reinstalling Windows- that's why I would like to have a small MBR partition, so I can use it on this one older PC)

Is this even possible?


Technically, yes, the MBR and the GPT are stored in different locations.

Practically all GPT disks have a special "protective" MBR. It's possible to have a "hybrid" disk by just writing regular partitions to the MBR instead of the "protective GPT" partition.

Usually though it can get really annoying and risky to always keep both tables in sync.

See the article Hybrid MBRs: The Good, the Bad, and the So Ugly You'll Tear Your Eyes Out by Rod Smith for the pretty-much-canonical description.

  • This is exactly what I needed. Thanks a bunch! – programstinator Oct 29 '14 at 17:16

Technically: Yes

Practically: No, don't do it. It is unmanageable and unsupportable.


Yes it is possible and works fine. Although I had an extra blank partition I was planning on using for another installation of linux and walla Windows had a hidden 5mb partition that got deleted and then caused the os to fail.

So like the others said, it is possible but probably shouldn't be done.

Also i'm in parted magic and online trying to figure out exactly how the heck I did it in the first place.

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