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GPT fdisk (aka gdisk) and FixParts
by Roderick W. Smith,
******************************** IMPORTANT ********************************
Most versions of Windows cannot boot from a GPT disk on BIOS-based
computers, and most varieties prior to Vista cannot read GPT disks. GPT
fdisk is a partition editor for GPT disks, and it will *AUTOMATICALLY
CONVERT* MBR disks to GPT form. Therefore, you should **NOT** use GPT fdisk
on a Windows system unless you fully understand what you're doing or are
certain that your computer boots in EFI/UEFI mode! If you accidentally use
GPT fdisk on a BIOS-mode boot disk, or perhaps even on a data disk, you may
find recovery to be very difficult! Pre-installed Windows 8 and later
systems almost always use GPT disks and boot in EFI/UEFI mode, but
self-installed Windows 8 systems sometimes use BIOS mode. This caveat does
not apply to FixParts, though; that tool works only on MBR disks.
Read the main README file for general information on the program, and read
the gdisk.html or fixparts.html documents (the Linux man pages converted to
HTML format) for detailed use information. My GPT fdisk Web page,, provides a more tutorial introduction to
the software. I originally wrote GPT fdisk on Linux, and some Linux- and
Unix-centric language remains in the documentation.
Windows Use Notes
The Windows version of GPT fdisk was added with version 0.6.2 of the
package. The Windows binary package includes the gdisk.exe interactive
text-mode program file but no equivalent to the sgdisk program that's
available with Linux, FreeBSD, and OS X builds. In theory, an sgdisk.exe
for Windows could be built if the popt library were installed. I've not
attempted to do this myself, though. If you care to try, check for information on popt
for Windows.
Beginning with version 0.8.10, I'm distributing both 32-bit and 64-bit
binaries, which include the strings "32" or "64" in their names. The 32-bit
binaries work fine on most versions of Windows, but some 64-bit
installations of Windows 8 lack 32-bit support libraries and so may need
the 64-bit binaries.
The FixParts program (fixparts32.exe and fixparts64.exe) is new with GPT
fdisk 0.7.0. As described in the main README file, this program fixes
certain partition table problems that can be created by buggy partitioning
software. Windows seems to be unfazed by most such problems, but I've not
done an extensive survey of Windows partitioning tools on this score.
To install the programs, copy the gdisk32.exe and fixparts32.exe (or
gdisk64.exe and fixparts64.exe) program files to any directory on your
path, such as C:\Windows. Alternatively, you can change to the program's
directory or type its complete path whenever you use it.
To use the programs, first launch a Command Prompt as the Administrator. To
do this, locate the Command Prompt program icon, right-click it, and select
"Run as Administrator." If you use a non-Administrator Command Prompt, you
won't be able to edit hard disk partition tables, although you will be able
to edit raw disk image files.
The program requires a hard disk identifier as an option. You can specify
this in either of two forms. The first way is as a number followed by a
colon, as in:
gdisk 0:
Disks are numbered starting from 0, so the preceding command launches gdisk
on the first disk. The second way to specify a disk device is via a
harder-to-remember name:
gdisk32 \\.\physicaldrive0
This command is equivalent to the earlier one -- it edits the partition
table on the first physical disk. Change the number at the end of the
device name to change the disk edited.
If you pass the "-l" option to gdisk.exe in addition to the disk
identifier, the program displays the current partition table information
and then exits. This use entails no risk to MBR disks, since the program
never writes data back to the disk when used in this way.
As noted above, editing the first disk with GPT fdisk is usually a Bad
Idea. An exception would be if your system uses an Extensible Firmware
Interface (EFI) and already boots from a GPT disk. It's safer to edit
non-boot disks, which usually have numbers of 1 and above, but only if you
run a version of Windows with GPT support. For more information on Windows'
support of GPT, see Microsoft's Web page on the topic:
The Windows binaries I've compiled do not support Unicode UTF-16LE GPT
partition names. This feature was added to version 0.7.1 of the software
for Linux, FreeBSD, and OS X, and with changes to some #ifndef lines in the
source files, it can be compiled for Windows; however, it seems to do
little good in Windows because of Command Prompt window and/or ICU library
limitations. Thus, I've omitted this support in the interests of
simplifying the binary distribution, since including it would mean
distributing the ICU libraries.
Source Code and Compilation Issues
I have successfully compiled GPT fdisk using three different Windows
- MinGW (, and in particular its Linux-hosted
cross-compiler -- Under Ubuntu Linux, the Makefile.mingw and
Makefile.mingw64 files enable compilation of the software via MinGW.
(Type "make -f Makefile.mingw" to compile 32-bit binaries, and "make -f
Makefile.mingw64" to compile 64-bit binaries.) If you try to compile
using another compiler or even using MinGW under Windows or another Linux
variety, you may need to adjust the Makefile.mingw options.
- Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Express
( -- This compiler requires a
third-party stdint.h file (I used the one from, but it otherwise
works fine. A project is easily created by adding all the *.h files and
all the *.cc files except,, and whichever
program file you intend to NOT build ( or
- Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Express -- This compiler works much like the
2008 version, although I didn't need to add a third-party stdint.h file.
The MinGW compiler produces much larger executables than do the MS
compilers. The resulting binaries seem to work equally well, but my testing
has been minimal.
I've also attempted to compile the code with OpenWatcom 1.8, but this
attempt failed, mostly because the compiler can't yet handle iostream
output on standard C++ strings. OpenWatcom also seems to have incorrectly
set the value of UINT32_MAX as if uint32_t values were 64-bit integers.
This alone won't cause the compile to fail, but it would create bugs.
If you modify GPT fdisk to get it to compile under another compiler, I
welcome submission of patches.