25 Mar 2013

If you have ever run into a hard drive you wanted to re-format or use and it was labelled as a "GPT Protective Partition", here are the steps you can take, from within Windows to get the ready for action again.

These steps are usually required, because this type of partition is locked down and all options in the normal GUI for Disk Management are greyed out.

  • Right click Command and Run As Administration.
  • Type "DiskPart" in the command line window
  • Type "list disk" in the window to list all disks
  • Find the disk that is the offending drive, lets say its Disk 1 and type "select Disk 1"
  • In the command window type "clean".  This removes the GPT disk by zeroing sectors
  • Now go back to Disk Management and you will see you can right click the disk and "initialize" the disk as well as create a new partition

In case you are wondering what a GPT Protective Partition is, it's a partition that a GUID Partition Table (GPT) protects.  These types of partitions cannot be deleted or reformatted but often can be larger than partitions that the Master Boot Records (MBR) create.  The GPT partition comes from creating partitions on a hard drive that GPT manages.  Often these types of partitions are the bi-product of using hardware RAID, where you might have had the hard drive in, for example, a RAID 5 or RAID 6 array, then removed it and are attempting to use the drive as a single drive again.  GPT partitions, incidentally, are used to create larger partition sizes that range from 2.19 TB to 9.4 ZB (zettabytes).  GPT tables are technically a form of part of the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) standard, which is Intel's proposed replacement for the PC BIOS.  Often though, GPT tables are used in BIOS systems because of the limitations of MBR partitions.  For more information on this topic you can take a look here.


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