How To Access a Windows GPT Partition

Having trouble accessing a USB drive in Windows XP?

Try this

Go to the Windows Computer Manager and select the Disk Manager. Does the drive show as a GPT Protected Partition? That’s your problem.

What is a GPT Partition?

A GTP disk is a disk using the GUID Partition Table (GPT) Scheme rather than the MBR scheme. You can run into this if the disk was created in Windows XP x64 edition, Windows Server 2003 (64-bit), Windows Server 2003 SP1 (all versions), Windows Vista, or Windows 7 – and you are trying to read this GPT disk on a Windows XP or earlier system.

Fix the GPT Partition


  • From the Disk Manager, note the disk number, shown on the left
  • Open a Command Window. From the command prompt, type diskpart and press Enter. You will now see a prompt starting with DISKPART>
  • Type select disk {disknumber} (for example: select disk 1, or select disk 2) then press Enter.
  • You will see a message appears saying that the disk is selected.
  • Now, type clean then press Enter. This will remove the drive’s partition and signature (this disk is now empty, all data is gone)
  • Go back to the Drive Manager, right-click on the drive and initialize it, partition it if you wish, and format it

Find more Tech tips and fixes at FCI Technology Blog

This disk will still be readable by Windows Vista and Windows 7, however it is now also readable by Windows XP and earlier. If you know you will be using external USB drives across multiple platforms you may wish to prepare that drive on a Windows XP machine to ensure compatibility.

About the Author

Guy is owner of Trusted Technology Inc, a Canadian based company. With 20+ years experience Guy provides managed IT support services to small businesses and non profits across Canada.

1 Comment on "How To Access a Windows GPT Partition"

  1. So, the title is misleading. The article doesn’t explain how to ‘access’ a GPT partition from XP. It’s really ‘how to delete a GPT partition from XP’. Which is still useful. But not the same. And most people finding this article would be wanting to access a drive bigger than 2.2TB, and this article does not mention how XP will react to partitioning a >2.2TB drive, nor answer other questions such as is it possible to use multiple NTFS partitions on a >2.2TB drive to get around the 2.2TB NTFS limit in XP 32-bit.

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