MBR vs GPT – Difference Between GPT and MBR When Partitioning a Drive

Set up a replacement disk on Windows 10 or 8.1 and you’ll be asked whether you would like to use MBR (Master Boot Record) or GPT (GUID Partition Table). Today we’re explaining the difference between GPT and MBR and helping you select the proper one for your PC or Mac.


GPT brings with it many advantages, but MBR continues to be the foremost compatible and continues to be necessary in some cases. This isn’t a Windows-only standard, by the way—Mac OS X, Linux, and other operating systems may also use GPT.


A partition structure defines how information is structured on the partition, where partitions begin and end, and also the code that’s used during startup if a partition is bootable. If you’ve ever partitioned and formatted a disk—or founded a Mac to dual boot Windows—you’ve likely had to cater to MBR and GPT. GPT is that the new standard and is gradually replacing MBR.


What are GPT and MBR?


1. MBR – Master Boot Record


Introduced in 1983, MBR is one of the widely-used Partition structures. It actually holds the monopoly when it involves Winchester drive partitions. MBR stands for Master Boot Record and it’s used on multiple platforms like Windows, Mac, and Linux. there’s a reason why MBR is named Master Boot Record. It’s because, at the start of each MBR-based drive, there’ll be a special boot sector.



This sector is employed to store different types of data. Essentially, you’ll be able to find a bootloader there. It’s also containing details about the various logical partitions on the disc drivefor example, if the drive has 4 partitions, details of every partition are found in MBR. Although it’s the industry standard since when it absolutely was launched, MBR is now being replaced.


GPT partition scheme



GPT means GUID (globally unique identifier) partition table. Compared with MBR, GPT may be a relatively new partitioning scheme, gradually replacing MBR. If your computer is current and it’s likely to use the GPT partitioning scheme. GPT is far more complicated and this part will dig a touch about it. If you’re not into technical details you’ll skip this part to read its main features.


This graph above explains the disk structure of the GPT partitioning scheme. First, you will notice that this picture uses LBA 0, LBA 1…to represent disk address, which used CHS (Cylinder-Head-Sector) addressing method. LBA (Logical Block Addressing) method is another important method to partition mass storage devices like hard drives and SSDs. LAB 0 means the primary sector whose physical number is 0 and LBA represents the second sector whose physical serial number is 1.


MBR’s limitation



Simply put, limitations on MBR are embodied in two aspects: it works with disk capacity up to 2TB in size and supports up to four primary partitions. Let’s have a glance at why these limitations exist.



The arrangement of logical sectors that constitute storage devices is described by a scheme called LBA (Logical Block Addressing). One label represents per sector, LBA0 stands for the primary logical sector on the disk and therefore the last LBA represents the last logical sector. The capacity of the drive is calculated by multiplying the number of logical numbers by the scale of every sector. Currently, the quality size of the logical sector is 512 bytes. 
Thus, a 2TB Winchester drive will contain 3,906,250,000 512-byte sectors. But the pc system requires 32 little bit of information to represent this huge number. In other words, if the disk’s capacity is larger then what will be described by using 32 bits, it might require an extra bit, 33bits. The MBR scheme sets a limit of 32 for the number of bits that may represent the number of logical sectors. the utmost number that may be addressed by 32 bit is 4,294,967,295 which is 2.199TB of capacity for a 512-byte sector Winchester drivewhich means a capacity exceed 2.2TB can not be addressed by the MBR partitioning scheme.


MBR vs GPT: which partition style is best?


If you wish to line up partitions on a device, both MBR and GPT will usually still be offered as options. However, in theory, GUID partition tables became the quality solution for contemporary hardware because they support an infinite number of partitions and haven’t any restrictions as regards the scale of the memory device or the partitions (or a minimum of none which will become relevant within the near future). Moreover, for disks with over 2 terabytes of memory, GPT is that the only solution. the utilization of the old MBR partition style is therefore now only recommended for older hardware and older versions of Windows and other older (or newer) 32-bit operating systems.


Convert to GPT Disk via Windows Built-in Utilities


With Windows Disk Management and Diskpart tools, you’re allowed to convert an EMPTY fixed disk to MBR or GPT with ease. that’s to mentionyou wish to delete all existing partitions within the first place. Therefore, duplicate important data to a secure place before. Here takes convert to GPT using Diskpart as an example.



1. Press Windows key + R key simultaneously to lift the Run box. Input “diskpart” and press Enter.



2. At DISKPART prompt, input the following commands successively, and every command follows an Enter pressing.



  • list disk


  • select disk n (where n is that the disk number of target disk)


  • clean (this command will erase the entire disk)


  • convert gpt (or convert MBR)


  • exit



Converting from MBR to GPT


If you’re using disks partitioned using the Master Boot Record this isn’t a controversy, but it’s worth remembering that there’s the next risk of knowledge loss within the event of a hardware fault. Considering this, providing your system offers the required support for GUID partition tables (i.e. a contemporary 64-bit system; for Microsoft this suggests Windows 7 or higher), we recommend that you simply convert your existing MBR partitions to GPT partitions. There are special tools for doing this, although many systems have a built-in conversion solution.



In Windows, for instanceyou’ll be able to convert partitions using the “Disk Management” tool. The steps are as follows:



  • Open the instrument panel and click on “Administrative Tools”.


  • Find the icon for the “Computer Management” service and double-click thereon.


  • In the menu pane on the left, select “Disk Management” (listed within the “Storage” section).


  • Windows will now show you an inventory of the disks founded on your device, including any partitions that are configured. Right-click on the relevant memory device and choose “Convert to GPT disk”.   




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