GPT vs MBR- What is the Difference and Which is Better?

The war between choosing the best partition style i.e GPT vs MBR has been going on for ages now. And if you still haven’t found the answer to this, well look no further. 

We too have been stuck in this long time back but luckily after good research and checking out both the options, we have finally come to the conclusion. If you are a newbie and have no idea even what do these two terms even mean, well keep scrolling further and you will get more information on both of these.

So without wasting any more seconds, let’s understand what is GPT and MBR before we decide which is better.

What is MBR Partitioning Scheme?

MBR is a partitioning format for your storage Device.

basic-mbr

Master Boot Record abbreviated as MBR works as a special Boot sector. It has a boot loader for the installed Windows operating system and also records information of the logical partition of the hard drive. MBR can only work with disks that have a size of up to 2TB. Furthermore, it supports only four primary partitions. But if you are looking for more such partitions then you will have to keep one of your primary partitions as an extended partition and further create logical partitions inside of it.

To further add, it has an entry for each partition for about 16 bytes, with a total of 64 bytes. This partition scheme can have 4 partitions tables in total. But users are not satisfied with this structure and so the extended partition scheme was introduced.

MBR’s Compatibility 

Apart from all the features and limitations imposed by MBR on the partitioning scheme. Your system needs to be compatible with MBR to even select that as your option for the partitioning of the hard drive. 

Here are the following factors that decided the compatibility of MBR for your operating system.

  1. There are numerous versions of the Windows Operating system used by people all over the world. Such as Windows 7, 8, 10 that are most commonly used but they too have subversions that need to consider.
  2. Apart from the versions, it depends on the 32-bit or 64-bit system compatibility on a large scale.
  3. Another factor would be the two types of cases that area data compatibility and system compatibility. 

Note: MBR partitioning scheme is compatible with all the versions of Windows 10, either be it 32-bit or 64-bit.

What is GPT Partitioning Scheme?

GUID Partition Table abbreviated as GPT is a newly introduced partitioning scheme or architectures for the partitioning disk drive to store data. Most of all the modern computers, GPT is used for the large disk space it provides after partition. Well. not only do they support Windows but also macOS and Linus operating system. Moreover, there isn’t any limitation on the disk space as seen in MBR (2TB), also you can have as many partitions as needed.

GPT Partition Table

The process involved in the GPT scheme is much more complicated and structures to what we have seen in the MBR partition scheme. Just like any modern MBR’s, GPT uses LBA i.e Logical Block Addressing other than the Cylinder head sector (CHS) Addressing. Starting with the partition, there are unlimited numbers that we can create. 

The protective MBR layer is stored in the LBA 0 section, we have primary GPT leader in LBA 1, and the GPT header has a pointer to the partition table, typically at LBA 2. As the primary GPT contains a number of entries, the primary entry array has been allocated with a minimum of 16, 384 bytes. Further, each entry is of size 128 bytes, and the disk has a 512-byte sector. This is why sector 34 is the first usable sector on the disk combined.

Similar to GPT, there is a small limitation when it comes to the GPT partitioning scheme. Since you know that this is not compatible with the BIOS system and mostly every computer system runs on the BIOS technology. So, before you choose GPT, you will have to make sure your system contains the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) standard (Unified EFI Forum-proposed replacement for the PC BIOS).

GPT’s Compatibility

Similar to the above, GPT follows some ground rules when it comes to applying it to your system. There are certain factors that show the compatibility of GPT to store data or even an operating system.

  1. Except for Windows XP- 32 bit, every Windows 32-bit 02 64-bit versions are data compatible with GPT.
  2. None of the 32-bit Windows is system compatible with the GPT scheme.
  3. Every 64-bit Windows version except Windows XP-64bit is system compatible which definitely requires UEFI for partitioning.

GPT vs MBR SSD- How to choose?

Now, we all know what both of these terms mean and the system with which it will be compatible with. But the factors that you must consider before we go to the difference are mentioned below.

GPT vs MBR

  1. Partition Number: This is a huge factor when it comes to deciding the better one among GPT vs MBR. The higher the number of partitions the better the scheme will be.
  2. Disk Size: Another important factor is the disk size that the two of them support. Well if any of these two have larger disk space, that would be a perfect choice.
  3. Security: Not everyone talks about the security of GPT vs MBR SSD choice when it comes to considering one for your system. A corrupter and unstable system will be of no use if the partition that has taken place isn’t perfectly well.
  4. Compatibility: The most important factor is compatibility with the versions of the operating system. There is a number of versions introduced by the companies for Windows, macOS and even Linux. Make sure you know your configuration of the system and choose the right option.

These are pretty much everything you need to know before you determine the best choice. Now let us get down to the difference between GPT and MBR partitioning scheme and which one is better in the long run.

Difference Between GPT vs MBR

So, we can finally talk about the major difference between the two of these and which one is going to the perfect option for your operating system.

MBR vs GPT

1. Partition Numbers

MBR partition table can hold up to only 4 partitions, while if you need more you may have to use the extended partition into play. But there will always be 4 primary partitions with no loophole for more. Microsoft supports up to 128 sub-­partitions.

GPT partition table, on the other hand, has more than what MBR has to offer. Theoretically, it has the capacity to allow an unlimited number of partitions. But unfortunately, Microsoft has limited the number to 128 partitions only. So, GPT can have 128 primary partitions on the hard drive.

2. Disk Size

MBR partition table can support a maximum disk size of 2TB. No matter how large the disk space is, it cannot exceed the maximum limit to 2TB for 4 partitions in total.

GPT, on the other hand, has unlimited partition support or in true sense a maximum of 128 partitions. So, the disk space can exceed over 2TB and are more feasible. GPT partitioning scheme allows up to 64 bits of information to be used in logical sectors. Theoretically, the disk capacity GPT can support can be 9.4 ZB.

3. Security- GPT vs MBR

GPT partition scheme has a huge advantage over the MBR partition scheme in terms of security. Well, once the MBR disk is corrupted it will no longer be usable. There are no options to recover it.

Similarly, the GPT partition contains CRC32 checksum for itself and for the table. The CRC32 checksum works as a huge advantage for GPT to diagnose the disk for any possible malware or corrupt files and immediately informs the system about it. Moreover, as soon as the error is diagnosed, the backup GUID partition header is used to immediately recover the files in the disk.

4. Compatibility

So, it is pretty clear that if your system runs on BIOS, you are bound to use the MBR partition scheme. While on the other hand if the system also contains UEFI, then you can run the GPT partition scheme and also MBR according to what you choose.

Furthermore, the combination of UEFI and GPT gives better performance, more speed and much more disk space for partitioning.

We have already discussed the compatibility of the Operating System with each of these schemes. So, you can refer them given above and decide accordingly which one would work on your system.

Verdict- GPT vs MBR

We have covered all the aspects that you need to know about MBR vs GPT and which one could be the best for you. But, collectively, GPT is the right choice.

GPT is the right choice

It has been introduced later than MBR during the 1990s and has been upgraded since then. Moreover, it supports a larger disk size with more partitions than MBR. Lastly, it will work faster than the latter.

But the only thing you need to keep in mind is about the Operating system compatibility and also what does your system supports i.e. BIOS or UEFI. Once it is sorted out, you can totally make the right decision the next time you choose to partition. Furthermore, you can even convert MBR disk into a GPT disk, which we will be covering on our blog soon.

To know more about Windows XP Mode, click here.

If you have any queries further, do not forget to ping us or comment below.

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