What Is a Basic Data Partition and How It Differs From a Primary Partition

“What's the "Microsoft basic data" partition for?” - Reddit

“What is the difference between primary partition and basic data partition?” - Superuser

You've probably heard of the terms "basic data partition" and "primary partition" but have a vague impression of them. Don't worry, as this post will shed some light on it. This article will help you understand a basic data partition and learn the difference between Microsoft's basic data partition vs. primary partition by explaining their relevant information in simple terms. The steps to convert the basic data partition to the primary partition are also included.

Part 1. What Is Microsoft Basic Data Partition?

A Microsoft basic data partition (BDP) is the partition recognized with the Globally Unique Identifier (GUID) in Microsoft operating systems while using a basic disk partitioned with GUID Partition Table (GPT) layout. The basic data partition is identical to Master Boot Record (MBR) partition types. You can format a basic data partition with any system file. Microsoft recommends inspecting the BIOS Parameter Block contained in the BDP's Volume Boot Record to assess which file system a basic data partition holds.

microsoft basic data partition

Part 2. Basic Data Partition vs. Primary Partition: What's the Difference?

The significant difference between the basic data partition and the primary partition is their 2 unique ways of storing the partitioning data. Before users can use a disk drive, it must be partitioned. The partitioning information on a drive is stored in MBR and GPT.

  • Drives labeled “Primary Data Partition” employ MBR and will not boot in the UEFI-only BIOS mode.
  • Drives labeled “Basic Data Partition” use GPT (GUID Partition Table) and are incompatible with MBR BIOSes.

A partition structure specifies how information on a partition is organized and the code executed during startup if a partition is bootable. If you've partitioned and formatted a disk, you've probably encountered MBR and GPT.

GPT partition tables have a partition type field that indicates its purpose, such as whether it's used for regular FAT or NTFS file storage or for holding a recovery image. As computers move toward a more modern and robust standard, the GPT gradually replaces MBR. Therefore, it is advisable to use GPT when configuring a drive.

Part 3. How To Convert Basic Data Partition to Primary Partition

Disk Management (GUI interface) and DiskPart (Command-Line) are built-in Windows tools that can convert a basic data partition to a primary partition. Follow the steps below to get started:

Tips/Note: The conversion process requires deleting the partition, so it is essential to make a backup first. If you ever forget to back up data, here’s a video tutorial to recover data from the formatted disk with Wondershare Recoverit, an excellent, reliable, and safe data recovery software.

Free Download

For Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10/11

Free Download

For macOS X 10.10 or later

Using Disk Management to Convert Basic Data Partition to Primary Partition in Windows

Step 1. Enter Disk Management, select the basic data partition, and then select Delete Volume.

delete the basic data partition

Step 2. When prompted that all data on this partition will be erased, select Yes to proceed. Right-click the extended partition and select Delete Partition.

delete the partition

Step 3. When you click Yes, the space will be labeled as Unallocated. To create a primary partition, right-click the Unallocated space and follow the wizard to create a new primary partition.

create the primary partition

Using Diskpart To Convert Basic Data Partition to Primary Partition

Step 1. Input the command prompt and click Search. Choose Run as administrator when you right-click Command Prompt.

open the command prompt

Step 2. Type diskpart and press Enter.

open the diskpart command tool

Step 3. In the order listed, type the following commands and press Enter after each one.

  • list disk
  • select disk n (n is the disk number containing the basic data partition to be converted to a primary partition)
  • list partition
  • select partition x (x denotes the number of the basic data partition to be converted)
  • delete partition (remove all data from the selected basic data partition and create it as unallocated space)
  • create partition primary
convert basic data partition to primary partition cmd

Summing Up

That’s all for this article. You now understand the meaning of Microsoft's basic data partition and its difference from a primary partition. You can follow the steps to convert the basic data partition to the primary partition, but remember to back up your data first. If you lose some essential files after the conversion, you can rely on Wondershare Recoverit to help restore them.

Free Download

For Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10/11

Free Download

For macOS X 10.10 or later