Hello geeks! Wish you a warm welcome. Hope you are doing fine, and learning new things daily with a quick shot.
Today, we are going to talk about a brand new topic –“Disk Partition”. Many of you might be already aware of it, and some might also have needed it.
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 the necessary details about GPT vs MBR. So next time you are not confused which one to choose between GPT vs MBR.
If you needed some kind of SSD disk partition; you might have almost got a question that, which technique is better and how to implement one?
So, today we will have a detailed discussion of the same topic.
So, be ready and let’s begin. *drumroll*
What is Hard disk Partition?
So you might have come across a question for sure that why do we need disk partition?
What is that all about?
Is it logical or you are harmless?
These all are pretty obvious ones. And need to be answered before to start discussing GPT and MBR.
Partition word means to slice or divide. And Hard drive partition leads to the same concept. Now first let me make sure you understand Hard disk properly. Hard disk a physical storage device used in your PC or Laptop or even Mobile phones. You need a hard drive to store all the data you capture day by day.
A hard disk is a non-volatile memory. This means that data once stored do not get flushed while PC is shut down.
Means it’s not a temporary memory alike your RAM. You might have seen those photos of shining silver disk covered in a black box. Yes, that’s a hard drive.
Well, there exist many more options like FLOPPY, CD, DVD, OPTICAL disks. A hard drive may have storage capacity from 2 MB to 4 TB and much more (as per personal or organization’s requirements).
Your complete data has been backed up here. From system’s OS to those important PDFs and all those high-end games also.
So, in case you are a true geek; you might have faced a situation when you might have to install another OS on the device. Like many Windows users also Ubuntu or another Linux environment in the same PC.
And if you also want to do so; you will have to partition your Hard drive.
A disk partition is also a frequent need after the arrival of new and fast SSD technology. Many users have moved into SSD partition on their HDD system. Maybe you never noticed but, your default hard disk is already sliced in C: and D: drive (Windows users).
GPT vs MBR
|Maximum Partition Capacity||2 TB||9.4 GB (1 ZB is 1 billion terabytes)|
|Maximum Partition Number||4 Primary Partition (3 Primary Partitions Infinite number of primary Partition )||128 Primary Partition|
|Firmware Interface Support||BIOS||UEFI|
|Operating System Support||Windows 7 & Older Systems like Window 95/98, Windows XP 32-bit, Window 2000, Window 2003 32-bit||Window 10 32-bit & newer OS like Window 8/8.1/10 64-bit|
Sometimes you will also need to that to manage and organize data in a proper manner.
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.
Now as we have already seen basics of both GPT and MBR, now let’s make a clear decision which one to choose?
And also which one actually matches your system specifications.
- To be more specific MBR limits block numbers to 4. So, if you need more then that MBR isn’t suited for you. But, GPT rescues you with unlimited numbers of slice size.
- MBR can slice a maximum of 2 TB disk, but GPT can work with even too large disk sizes. So, it’s advised to large organizations.
- If your computer is old BIOS based architecture, MBR is the safe and more specifically only choice.
- Any modern UEFI based system will easily support GPT.
- There exist some ways to use GPT even on BIOS motherboards, but mostly they tend to make your system slower and dealing with such tedious system can annoy you.
- GPT is the best option if you want to have some SSD installation on new devices.
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.
So, What is the 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 information about different logical partitions on the Hard Drive.
MBR means Master Boot Record. MBR is a technique of disk partition. Being one of the oldest tricks it was introduced back in 1983. The first try was done on Windows DOS 2.
In this method, we build a special boot sector which takes charge of managing all the data and information. This sector contains all data of logical partitions of the disk. The boot loader has starting codes of each data partition. Once it is loaded it actively takes care of the parts.
MBR partition scheme can have a maximum of 4 parts at a time. It also has information on all the blocks saved. MBR also require some extra space to back up necessary data. MBR logically supports slicing 2 TB of maximum disk size. If any time MBR is damaged it may lead to mal-loading of your OS or even failure. Sometimes users demand extra parts using an extended partition method.
MBR is applicable to almost all the BIOS-based systems. Even some newer OS also supports MBR. Windows 7/8 and even 10 (in some cases) support MBR successfully. 32/64 bit architecture both are compatible with MBR.
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 this information. It is very popular and had a monopoly on 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 the same String Names. This has several advantages in the proper functioning of OS and also there are many other advantages.
So, once have taken a good idea what disk partition is; now we move on to GPT. GPT means Guide Partition Table. GPT was introduced much later after the discovery of MBR. GPT is trending in modern disk slicing. Although GPT is yield to be more complicated than MBR.
GPT can hold logically unlimited partitions, means it eliminates difficulties faced using MBR. And it also does not suffer from small disk capacity problem. It can slice up to 210 TB of disk size. GPT also contains multiple copies of boot data; which means no data loss even if corruption or loss. Although many old BIOS based CPUs do not support GPT and are only available for MBR.
GPT can only be used on UEFI based systems. Because GPT blocks need UEFI while booting process. All the Windows 7/8/10 having UEFI structure can be used with GPT.
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.
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:
- It’s 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.
So, up to here, you might have got a decent idea of what is more suitable for your system. The choice is yours. There are many tutorials online to convert MBR drive to GPT and vice versa. You can easily search and try them if needed. It is not much difficult. You just have to follow some basic steps, and there you go.
Hope you enjoyed reading the Article about GPT vs MBR,
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