Monday, December 5

MBR vs GPT: which is better for your hard drive?

Main boot record (MBR) y GUID partition table (GPT) are two partitioning schemes for hard drives everywhere, with GPT being the newer standard. For each option, the startup structure and the way the data is handled are unique. The speed varies between the two partition options and the requirements are also different. This article explains what they are, what they require, and how they differ.

What is an HDD partition?

To understand MBR and GPT, you need to understand what a partition is. Partitions are separate sections on a hard drive that the operating system uses to boot and run. Windows shows them as drives in File Explorer, even though they are there HDD (HDD). For example, many laptops have a “system” partition where the entire Windows operating system (OS) goes (often the C 🙂 drive, plus a hidden “recovery” partition that can be used to restore the system. system in the event of an accident. Another reason to use partitions is to install multiple operating systems on the same hard drive (Linux, Windows 10, Windows 7, etc.)

What is MBR?

MBR manages how partitions are created and organized on the HDD (HDD). MBR uses the Bios firmware and stores the code in the first sector of the disk with a logical block address (LBA) of 1. The data includes information related to how and where Windows resides to manage the boot process on the PC’s main storage and internal random access memory (RAM), not external memory such as cards / sticks of DDR2 and DDR3 memory.

MBR data stored in HDD LBA 1 includes the following:

  • Master partition table: Abbreviated as MPT, the table stores all the partition information found on each HDD, including the format type, capacity, and other necessary details. For the operating system and PC to function properly, they need a record of HDD partitions and sizes and a way to identify active boot partitions. The MPT provides all that essential information.
  • Master boot code: Sometimes abbreviated as MBC, the code executes the launch of the operating system and manages the settings for the boot process (to commit any changes), such as detect drives, calculate RAM (external), detect displays and other essential devices and settings information .
  • Disk signature: Each unit needs a unique identifier, which is created in the form of a signature. This identifier ensures that the correct drive and partition read and write data when using multiple disks, and ensures proper PC functionality and security protocol for all read / write data transactions.
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The basic input / output system (BIOS) of the PC / motherboard looks for the device with an MBR and then executes the volume boot code from the partition that has it. The MBR then activates the drive’s boot sector to start the operating system.

What is a GPT partition?

GPT It represents GRAMUID PAGartition Tcapable. Like MBR, it also manages the creation and organization of partitions on the hard drive. GPT uses UEFI firmware and also stores disk information such as partitions, sizes, and other essential data, just like MBR does in sector one. However, GPT uses sector two because sector one is reserved for MBR and BIOS support. In GPT technical terms, MBR sector n. 1 (LBA 1) is LBA 0 for GPT and GPT is Sector 1 (LBA 1).

MBR partition scheme Sector # LBA #
GPT partition scheme Sector # LBA #
MBR (for compatibility) LBA 0

The data stored in the GPT header includes drive information in the form of a GUID partition table. The GUID consists of details about drives, partitions, storage sizes, boot information, and other essential data related to boot and functionality.

The GUID partition table stored in HDD LBA 1 includes information on the following:

  • MBR data
  • Datos GPT
  • Partition entry data
  • Secondary GPT data (also known as backup)

MBR frente a GPT

mbrvsgpt partitions

The main difference between MBR and GPT is that MBR has some limitations for modern use. Namely, MBR can only handle four primary partitions and 2 TB of hard drive space. GPT has no partition limit, so you can have ten partitions if you want.

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Nevertheless, Windows versions prior to 8 cannot boot from GPT drives. This requirement means that Windows 7 has to use MBR on its primary / boot hard drives.

Another difference is that MBR stores all the information in one place, which could get corrupted and fail. GPT writes information to various areas of the drive and includes a secondary backup GPT table for recovery if the first one gets corrupted or fails.

Apart from the differences between MBR and GPT mentioned above, GPT can use newer device technologies and supports BIOS / MBR functions for backward compatibility of older non-UEFI devices. Lastly, boot is usually faster with GPT and UEFI.

Why use the GPT partition scheme?

mbrvsgpt creation

If you get an external HDD or SSD and your PC supports MBR and GPT partitions, you need to format the drive with GPT. This option allows you to take advantage of faster speeds, unlimited partitions, and significantly larger storage capacities.

When to use MBR

There are a few reasons to keep using MBR. If you mainly work with drives less than 2TB or earlier versions of Windows, you’d better format all your drives to MBR so that you can don’t risk breaking compatibility with any of your equipment.

However, Windows 7 and later can use GPT. Unfortunately, the compatibility is based on whether the motherboard and CPU support a UEFI BIOS, or else it can only be used on non-boot partitions. If you’re still running XP / Vista, it certainly won’t make GPT work at all, leaving you alone with the MBR option.

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