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A Review of GPT Versus MBR Partitioning

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Lately there has been much discussion about GPT and MBR when partitioning a hard drive. Here is a little review of the two, and the difference. Hope this helps and is informative. The following was taken from Linked-in.

Mel

 

GPT brings with it many advantages, but MBR is still the most compatible and is still necessary in some cases. This isn’t a Windows-only standard — Mac OS X, Linux, and other operating systems can also use GPT.

 

What Do GPT and MBR Do?

MBR (Master Boot Record) and GPT (GUID Partition Table) are two different ways of storing the partitioning information on a drive. This information includes where partitions start and begin, so your operating system knows which sectors belong to each partition and which partition is bootable. This is why you have to choose MBR or GPT before creating partitions on a drive.

MBR’s Limitations

MBR standards for Master Boot Record. It was introduced with IBM PC DOS 2.0 in 1983.

It’s called Master Boot Record because the MBR is a special boot sector located at the beginning of a drive. This sector contains a boot loader for the installed operating system and information about the drive’s logical partitions. The boot loader is a small bit of code that generally loads the larger boot loader from another partition on a drive. If you have Windows installed, the initial bits of the Windows boot loader reside here — that’s why you may have torepair your MBR if it’s overwritten and Windows won’t boot. If you have Linux installed, the GRUB boot loader will typically be located in the MBR.

MBR works with disks up to 2 TB in size, but it can’t handle disks with more than 2 TB of space. MBR also only supports up to four primary partitions — if you want more, you have to make one of your primary partitions an “extended partition” and create logical partitions inside it. This is a silly little hack and shouldn’t be necessary.

MBR became the industry standard everyone used for partitioning and booting from disks. Developers have been piling on hacks like extended partitions ever since.

GPT’s Advantages

GPT stands for GUID Partition Table. It’s a new standard that’s gradually replacing MBR. It’s associated with UEFI — UEFI replaces the clunky old BIOS with something more modern, and GPT replaces the clunky old MBR partitioning system with something more modern. It’s called GUID Partition Table because every partition on your drive has a “globally unique identifier,” or GUID — a random string so long that every GPT partition on earth likely has its own unique identifier.

This system doesn’t have MBR’s limits. Drives can be much, much larger and size limits will depend on the operating system and its file systems. GPT allows for a nearly unlimited amount of partitions, and the limit here will be your operating system — Windows allows up to 128 partitions on a GPT drive, and you don’t have to create an extended partition.

On an MBR disk, the partitioning and boot data is stored in one place. If this data is overwritten or corrupted, you’re in trouble. In contrast, GPT stores multiple copies of this data across the disk, so it’s much more robust and can recover if the data is correupted. GPT also stores cyclic redundancy check (CRC) values to check that its data is intact — if the data is corrupted, GPT can notice the problem and attempt to recover the damaged data from another location on the disk. MBR had no way of knowing if its data was corrupted — you’d only see there was a problem when the boot process failed or your drive’s partitions vanished.

 



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Nah your just a young Kid compared to me. Old Dogs can learn new tricks. :clap:

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ARF! ARF!

ARF! ARF! ARF! got you beat by 23 years. :harhar:
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Thanks for the write-up! My two newer notebooks have GPT partitioning; MBR on the others. So I don't have a lot of experience with GPT but I did manage to install Debian on both of those newer ones, first repartitioning with GParted Live. I haven't done dual- or multi-boot setups on those two notebooks (in my case, it would be all-Linux); not sure if that would be any different with GPT than with MBR, other than there not being any extended partitons, I guess. Maybe I'll get around to adding another distro on one of them someday, I don't know. Anyway, those were the first two times I've done any partitioning on a computer using GPT partitioning.

 

I'm so silly -- whenever a computer comes my way anymore, I boot into Windows and look around for a few minutes, then shut it down, get into the BIOS and change the boot order, fire up GParted, and repartition. Bye-bye Windows, end of story.

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I'm so silly -- whenever a computer comes my way anymore, I boot into Windows and look around for a few minutes, then shut it down, get into the BIOS and change the boot order, fire up GParted, and repartition. Bye-bye Windows, end of story.

 

An that is silly ..................................why ? Sounds like a darn good move to me :breakfast: Mind you you do waste a few precious moments, so I guess that is pretty silly, especially at your time of life :Laughing:

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Thanks for the write-up! My two newer notebooks have GPT partitioning; MBR on the others. So I don't have a lot of experience with GPT but I did manage to install Debian on both of those newer ones, first repartitioning with GParted Live. I haven't done dual- or multi-boot setups on those two notebooks (in my case, it would be all-Linux); not sure if that would be any different with GPT than with MBR, other than there not being any extended partitons, I guess. Maybe I'll get around to adding another distro on one of them someday, I don't know. Anyway, those were the first two times I've done any partitioning on a computer using GPT partitioning.

The Link Below shows my Linux Multi Boot with GPT partitioning and UEFI Firmware.

Mel

Click Here

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Cool! What's your fdisk -l look like? I've been going with only one shared swap partition. I used to multi-boot with various distros but maybe Arch kinda changed my mindset; going forward, I'm thinking Debian Stable plus Arch and that's it. Anyway, looks almost like the same sort of thing, multi-booting with GPT or MBR.

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Cool! What's your fdisk -l look like? I've been going with only one shared swap partition. I used to multi-boot with various distros but maybe Arch kinda changed my mindset; going forward, I'm thinking Debian Stable plus Arch and that's it. Anyway, looks almost like the same sort of thing, multi-booting with GPT or MBR.

Here is my Fdisk for the 1st and 2nd disks. disk 1 is all linux, and disk2 is all Windows 10 Note the difference and the EFI partitions.

Device Start End Sectors Size Type

/dev/sda1 2048 999423 997376 487M EFI System

/dev/sda2 999424 49827548 48828125 23.3G Linux filesystem

/dev/sda3 49827840 51828735 2000896 977M Linux swap

/dev/sda4 51828736 149485567 97656832 46.6G Linux filesystem

/dev/sda5 149485568 200685567 51200000 24.4G Linux filesystem

/dev/sda6 200685568 202782719 2097152 1G Linux swap

/dev/sda7 202782720 264222719 61440000 29.3G Linux filesystem

/dev/sda8 264222720 315422719 51200000 24.4G Linux filesystem

/dev/sda9 315422720 317519871 2097152 1G Linux swap

/dev/sda10 317519872 358479871 40960000 19.5G Linux filesystem

 

 

Disk /dev/sdb: 232.9 GiB, 250059350016 bytes, 488397168 sectors

Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes

Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes

I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes

Disklabel type: gpt

Disk identifier: 0014599B-C267-4BFA-A3F3-BC460795857D

 

Device Start End Sectors Size Type

/dev/sdb1 2048 923647 921600 450M Windows recovery environment

/dev/sdb2 923648 1128447 204800 100M EFI System

/dev/sdb3 1128448 1161215 32768 16M Microsoft reserved

/dev/sdb4 1161216 289605631 288444416 137.6G Microsoft basic data

/dev/sdb5 289605632 484165631 194560000 92.8G Microsoft basic data

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I'm so silly -- whenever a computer comes my way anymore, I boot into Windows and look around for a few minutes, then shut it down, get into the BIOS and change the boot order, fire up GParted, and repartition. Bye-bye Windows, end of story.

Maybe a little off topic, but something I've been wondering about in all this discussion, if you repartition and just get rid of windows, do any windows entries linger in EFI partition even though windows itself is gone?

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Maybe a little off topic, but something I've been wondering about in all this discussion, if you repartition and just get rid of windows, do any windows entries linger in EFI partition even though windows itself is gone?

 

Hm. Well, I deleted all of the original partitions including the EFI partition, then created a new FAT32 partition for EFI when I repartitioned. So I don't know. Then when I installed Debian, well, here's what I put in my installation notes regarding that partition:

 

Partitioning method: Manual. Selected sda1, use as EFI System Partition, Bootable flag on.
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I'm so silly -- whenever a computer comes my way anymore, I boot into Windows and look around for a few minutes, then shut it down, get into the BIOS and change the boot order, fire up GParted, and repartition. Bye-bye Windows, end of story.

Maybe a little off topic, but something I've been wondering about in all this discussion, if you repartition and just get rid of windows, do any windows entries linger in EFI partition even though windows itself is gone?

 

If any Windows stuff was left in the EFI partition it you could just delete the files and folders with no ill effects. Best move would be to wipe everything and create new partitions, it is pretty easy with gparted run from a live distro.

 

:breakfast:

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ARF! ARF!

ARF! ARF! ARF! got you beat by 23 years. :harhar:

 

My... you are an old fart. ;)

Of Course, age has it's privileges. o:)

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I'm so silly -- whenever a computer comes my way anymore, I boot into Windows and look around for a few minutes, then shut it down, get into the BIOS and change the boot order, fire up GParted, and repartition. Bye-bye Windows, end of story.

Maybe a little off topic, but something I've been wondering about in all this discussion, if you repartition and just get rid of windows, do any windows entries linger in EFI partition even though windows itself is gone?

Ebrke What is it you are trying to do? Here is an example of what windows installs when it is using the whole hard drive by itself.

Device Start End Sectors Size Type

/dev/sdb1 2048 923647 921600 450M Windows recovery environment

/dev/sdb2 923648 1128447 204800 100M EFI System

/dev/sdb3 1128448 1161215 32768 16M Microsoft reserved

/dev/sdb4 1161216 289605631 288444416 137.6G Microsoft basic data

 

as you can see windows makes some special partitions When you have UEFI Firmware.

 

1. recovery environment partition

 

2. EFI System partition

 

3. Microsoft Reserved partition

 

4. Windows Partition (where Windows is installed)

 

If you are dual booting with Linux on the same hard drive or ssd, windows does not recognize the Linux partitions. Most modern Linux Distros will recognize the EFI partition and will install grub there and let you boot windows with grub. so if you are deleting just the windows partitions and leaving the linux partitions then you would have to Leave the EFI partition in order to boot linux. If on the other hand You want to install just Linux, then you can install and tell linux to use the whole hard drive or ssd. If you don't want Linux to take the whole hard drive, then you will have to make a partition of 512 MB Fat 32 and set the flags to EFI and ESP. Then you can format the rest of the drive for whatever distro you want to install. for example

1. Fat 32 512 MB EFI partition with flags set for EFI and ESP

 

2. Linux ext4 root partition

 

3. Linux Swap partition

 

4. Linux Home partition (if you use one)

 

The above is a over simplification, but should give you a good idea. If you need or want more information let me know and explain what you want to do.

Mel

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Well, windows will create the reserved partition and you will probably have the recovery one as well (it comes preinstalled on most computers nowadays) on any setup, MBR or UEFI.

 

The boot partition is on the only thing that really changes. You go from MBR (Master boot record.. first sector of harddrive) to a boot partition (EFI)..

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Windows 10 made a 100MB ESP during install by default. My UEFI/GPT system uses less than half of that with about 5 Linux distros multi-booted.

With most Linux installs now, you would barely notice any difference in procedure between UEFI and MBR.

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My ESP is 100 MB as it was auto installed with Windows 7. I dual Boot with Arch and have used 79.3 MB which leaves me 29.7 MB free. For my set up that is more than enough free space. If I were to install again from scratch I would make my ESP 150 MB just to give me some wriggle room in case I needed to triple boot.

When I made my install a couple of years ago there was no mention of size for the ESP mentioned in the Arch WIKI now I see that they advise a size of 512 MB. Why on earth someone has altered the wiki with what seems to me to be a ridiculous large size for a ESP baffles me.

 

My Arch files are,

initramfs-linux.img

initramfs-linux-fallback.img

intel-ucode.img

vmlinuz-linux

58.2Mib

Windows

5.7 Mib

rEFind

2.4Mib

 

As you can see not a vast amount of files and folders.

 

This is what my ESP looks like inside,

 

CpOTBBS.jpg

 

KijlZEK.jpg

 

ppPAErR.jpg

 

I find rEFind to be very easy and low maintenance as a boot loader. Truthfully I like the way it looks and picks up USB distros I try out. :breakfast:

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Interesting... I've never really been pushed to pick one over the other. Most of my computers have a traditional BIOS with an MBR setup which works fine, only my new laptop shipped with a GPT/UEFI setup out of the box... which also works fine. B)

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Ebrke What is it you are trying to do?

Nothing at this point. Just trying to find my way with UEFI, which is new to me. :'(

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Why do you have so many languages?

 

Beats me , that was what Windows installed. You would have thought that an install that had chosen UK English would just have that language installed but no you get all those shown. I do not know what half of the languages are. It is probably some Microsoft magic that makes the os run perfectly and beyond the ken of mere mortals. :228823:

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