Expansion drives switching to GPT

Our new Expansion drives are going to come out of the box partitioned GPT (GUID partition table) which could make it tricky using them on the Windows XP 32-bit OS. The following article explains GPT and will help you convert these drives to MBR partitions in the case that you need to use them on a 32-bit version of Windows XP.
GUID Partition Table (GPT) is a partitioning scheme that is part of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface specification; it uses a globally unique identifier for qualifying devices. It is the next generation partitioning scheme designed to succeed the Master Boot Record partitioning scheme method.

Disk Management describes disks with the GUID partition table (GPT) partitioning style as GPT disks and disks with the master boot record (MBR) partitioning style as MBR disks. You can perform the same tasks on GPT disks as you can on MBR disks with the following exceptions:   
  • GPT disks are supported only by Windows XP 64-Bit Edition and above. You cannot move GPT disks to computers running 32-bit versions of Windows XP. Disk Management on computers running 32-bit versions of Windows XP, the GPT disks appear as basic MBR disks with a single partition covering the whole disk, but the data on the partition cannot be accessed. It simply shows up as a “GPT Protective Partition” in Disk Management.
This shows an 8TB Backup Plus USB drive setup GPT and is connected to a XP 32-bit OS.
User-added image
  • You can convert an MBR disk to a GPT disk and vice versa only if the disk is empty or you are not concerned with losing the data on the drive, since doing so will completely wipe out anything that is on the drive. However there is a 2.2TB size limitation to MBR disks.  So if you have a 4TB Expansion drive and you wish to use it with Windows XP 32-bit you will only be able to use 2.2TB’s of that 4TB drive. This is due to the limitation of the MBR partition scheme, it does not mean there is anything wrong with the drive.
  • You have to use a command line utility called “Diskpart” to wipe the partition on the drive and convert it to an MBR disk.
Here is a link on how to use “Diskpart”:

Our new Expansion drives come out of the box partitioned GPT, but our older line of Expansion drives came partitioned out of the box MBR; there was no size limitation with any operating system, even Windows XP. We were able to do this because these drives came with 4K sector sizes and a special bridge card installed on them to get past the 2.2TB limitation. We stopped manufacturing these drives this way, because Windows XP is no longer a supported operating system, additionally the current Expansion drives enable Windows 7 users to use them with the Windows 7 Image Backup program.
  • So in short, the newer model of Expansion drives will not work without size limitation on Windows XP 32-bit and the older models of the Expansion drive will.
Here are pictures of the newer models of Expansion drives that will not work without size limitations.
User-added image
User-added image
Here are pictures of the older models of Expansion drives that will work without size limitations.

User-added image
User-added image

Please rate the helpfulness of this article