If you have done Hard Disk partitions then you must have come through GPT vs MBR. You would have thought of which one should I use. Basically, both are Partition Structures, which decides many aspects of the partition such as:
- Organization of data
- The code required for Booting
- Partition Borders i.e where the partition starts and ends
- Decides which partition is bootable
MBR and GPT are two types of storing partition information on a drive. In this article, we will give you all necessary details about GPT vs MBR. So next time you are not confused which one to choose between GPT vs MBR.
Let us try to see each of them,
So, What is MBR – Master Boot Record?
In 1983 this partition structure was introduced. It is one of the most widely-used Partition Structure. MBR is used in almost all the platforms such as Windows, Linux or Mac. The name Master Boot Record for MBR means that for each partition there is a special boot sector and after this, the rest of the files are stored in the partition.
This boot sector stores multiple information such as:
- You will find bootloader there, which is responsible for booting of the System
- It will also contain the information about different logical partitions on the Hard Drive.
Whenever you want to install a new OS, then the logical partitions in your Hard Disk are displayed using the Master Boot Sector which stores all these information. It is very popular and had a monopoly in the industry until GPT comes. Each of the partition structures has its pros and cons.
What is GPT – GUID Partition TAble?
GPT was developed by Intel in the 1990s in order to remove the limitations of MBR. It is used as a specification for UEFI Systems. GPT stands for GUID Partition Table and GUID stands for Globally Unique Identifier. Each partition which is GPT based which have unique String Name which will be globally unique. That is not two GPT partitions in the world will have same String Names. This has several advantages in the proper functioning of OS and also there are many other advantages.
As GPT being a newer Partition Structure, It has several advantages of MBR.
Let’s Look at the MBR’s Limitations
If you have Windows Installed on your System then Windows Boot Loader is on the starting of the Hard Disk Partition. That is why if your MBR is overwritten then your Windows System won’t boot up. If you have Linux Installed then there will be the GRUB Boot Loader located in Master Boot Record of the Hard Disk partition. Let’s see some of the MBR’s Limitations:
- MBR doesn’t support partition size of bigger than 2TB i.e if your Hard Disk has a size bigger than 2TB then you cannot use MBR in that.
- You can create only four Primary partitions in MBR. However, you may need more than 4 partitions then it would be helpful. If you want to make more partitions then you have to choose one of the primary partitions and then create an “extended partitions” inside that logical partition. This is a very unnecessary step.
- If Master Boot Record of your partition is corrupted or overwritten then you would not be able to access your partition. This makes it unreliable.
To overcome these limitations Intel came up with GPT Partition Structure and is now being used in almost every new Hard Disks.
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Let’s Look at the Advantages of GPT
It not only fulfills the limitations of MBR Partition Structure but provides various other additional advantages. Let’s review some of the advantages of GPT:
- You can use GPT in any Hard Disk Size. There is no limit to the Hard Disk size on which GPT could be used so now you can use very large size hard disk for various purposes such as storing movies or games or Softwares.
- GPT can support up to 128 Primary Partitions. These number of partitions are sufficient enough for every most of the purposes. Compared to MBR which provided 4 Primary Partitions only, this is a huge improvement over that.
- GPT-Based Hard Disks not very less in the risk of data corruption as it does Cyclic Redundancy Check i.e error checking for data that are stored on the Hard Disk. If it founds that the data is corrupted it tries to recover data by copying the data to other locations in Hard Disk. However, on MBR based Drives you have to do error checking and recovery process manually.
- It is closely related to UEFI and UEFI replaces the default BIOS with More Modern Firmware for BIOS.
- On MBR disk, the Partitioning and Boot data is stored in one sector so if data is overwritten or corrupted then You will not be able to access the Hard Disk. However, GPT will store multiple copies of this data on Hard Disk which ensures reliability, and will recover data is someone accidentally overwritten it.
Should you use GPT?
Obviously, you can easily make your Hard Disk run on GPT Partition Structure but you got to have PC that has UEFI support in its BIOS. One should prefer GPT as:
- Its compatible with almost every platform such as Windows, Linux or Mac.
- Every GPT-Based drive has a sector called Protective MBR which is used to make Hard Disk compatible with MBR-only devices. However, you would see the drive as single partition only.
Therefore you can see its highly compatible with all other devices and does automatic error checking.
Conclusion – GPT vs MBR
By now you should have understood that GPT has many advantages over MBR. MBR doesn’t provide you automatic error checking and recovery and also it is not very reliable because if its Master Boot Record sector is corrupted then you will not be able to access the partition. Also, MBR supports Hard Drives up to 2 TB and only 4 Primary partitions are allowed for a Hard Disk. GPT removes all the limitations of MBR and is very reliable. However, if your device doesn’t have UEFI support then you would not be able to use GPT on your device. If your device is very Old then MBR will be good for you but for all modern Hard Disk GPT is the best option Partition Structure to go for.
Hope you enjoyed reading the Article about GPT vs MBR,
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