After successfully creating a bootable disk to install Windows for Mac, you might face an error that states, “Windows cannot be installed on this disk. The Selected disk has an MBR partition table Boot.” This sometimes happens when the targeted disk is formatted with an MBR partition. Macs operate on an EFI system and Windows can only be installed on a GPT disk partition, hence the error when you try to install windows. This error frequently happens with iMacs and Macbooks ranging from 2008-2014. Luckily, the fix is extremely easy.

(If you have a Mac with an M1 chip, learn how to install Windows 11 here)

The solution

To fix this error, restart your Macbook and boot into Mac OS. When the UI loads up, launch the Disk Utility app. If you can’t find it, click the search box on the top right corner and look for it. After you launch Disk Utility, locate the partition that will host the Windows Operating System. Right-click on it and select erase (format). Choose the Mac OS Extended (Journaled) for the Format and GUID Partition Map for the Scheme. This will not only change the partition scheme, but it will make sure that the partition is not in the MBR (Master Boot Record) format.

Installing Windows

macbook


Now reboot your Mac and choose the bootable drive. Follow the procedure to install Windows until you get to the disk selection part. Now choose the partition that you formatted earlier and let the windows installer format it again. This needs to be done because Windows can only be installed on an NTFS partition. After completion, you should be able to install windows without the MBR partition error.

For non-Mac users (Solutions)

  1. Go through the BIOS settings and change the UEFI configuration. 
  2. Convert MBR disk to GPT disk. Many disk utility tools can do this without erasing your files. 
  3. Use the command line. Please note: This method will erase your files. Make sure to backup.
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Kenyon Ndezi is a recent graduate, writer, creator of kenyonndez.com; and the owner of Neonbuild.com, which is a company focused on building apps for small businesses and individuals. Follow along and get inspired!

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2 replies on “Bootcamp FIX: Windows cannot be installed on this disk. The Selected disk has an MBR partition table Boot.”

  • TimOlaf
    August 2, 2022 at 6:08 pm

    Ok, the error I’m having conflicts with the above advice. I’m trying to re-install Windows on my MacBook Pro (2009), and I’m getting “Windows cannot be installed on this disk. The Selected disk has a GPT partition table.” That’s the exact opposite! And I cannot figure out any solution. Anyone?

    • August 6, 2022 at 5:43 am

      Rule of thumb.
      -MBR/Legacy flash drives only work with MBR partition tables.
      -GPT/UEFI flash drives only work with GPT partition tables.
      So make sure both sides are compatible. The source and the installation location. But for your year of Macbook, make sure to install the legacy version of Windows. To do that format your partition in FAT32 using Bootcamp assistant or Disk utility.

      You’re getting an error because your hard drive is in a GPT partition table and your flash drive is in MBR. That means your Windows installation needs to be in the same format, UEFI GPT. To combat this, make sure to create a Windows installation disk in UEFI/GPT by using Rufus then it will install. But the best solution would be to format your partition in FAT32 to create a hybrid GPT/MBR partition (Mac OS only works in GPT so it will create a hybrid environment to install the legacy version of Windows) Once your partition is formated in FAT32, head on to rufus and create a legacy /MBR Windows flash disk. But whatever route you take, remember (MBR/legacy flash drive = MBR partition) and (UEFI/GPT flash drive = GPT partition table) and that’s all there is to it.