Compare MBR(Master Boot Record) vs GPT(GUID Partition Table) Partition Schemes


Partition tables are used to structure the disk drives. MBR (Master Boot Record) and GPT (GUID Partition Table) are the two most popular partition schemes used today in IT environments. In this tutorial, we will compare the similarities and differences between these two partition schemes.

What is MBR?

MBR is an old and tired partition scheme initially used on first IBM PCs. MBR is specifically designed for Microsoft DOS operating systems and used by Linux operating systems too. More details about MBR can be learned by the following tutorial.

What is Master Boot Record or MBR?

What is GTP?

GPT is a modern partition scheme used by modern operating systems. GPT provides a lot of advantages over MBR as we will see in this tutorial.

Supported Disk Size

As disk sizes grow very fast the disk size support becomes one of the most important factors for the partition schemes.

GPT

GPT supports disks larger and lesser than 2 TB. This means there is no problem with supported disk size in the GPT partition scheme.

MBR

As an old fashion partition scheme, MBR can support disks up to 2TB. If we need to use the disk with a capacity larger than 2 TB we should use the GPT partition scheme.

Partition Count

Partitions are used to create separate virtual parts in a disk drive. We can use these parts independently in our file and operating systems.

GPT

GPT can support up to 128 partitions in a single disk without a problem. 128 partition is enough for all use cases in the IT environment. As we know the letters will not meet the partitions count.

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MBR

MBR has a bit complex partition mechanism. MBR supports a maximum of 16 partitions but there may be some limitations about using them.

Boot Loader

Boot loader is a small utility where it loads operating systems and runs afters BIOS.

GPT

GPT can support all known boot loaders like Windows Boot Loader, Grub, Lilo without problem.

MBR

MBR can support all known boot loaders like Windows Boot Loader, Grub, Lilo without problem.

UEFI

UEFI is a hardware and software-based security mechanism used to authenticate and secure operating system files and firmware.

GPT

GPT can work with UEFI without problem.

MBR

MBR supports the use of UEFI.

Operating System Support

GPT

GPT is supported by most of the modern operating systems. We can use GPT  with Windows Server 2008, 2012,2016, Windows 7,8,10, Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS, Debian, Mint, etc.

MBR

MBR is supported by most modern operating systems. We can use MBR  with Windows Server 2008, 2012,2016, Windows 7,8,10, Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS, Debian, Mint, etc.

Security

Partitions schemes like GPT and MBR can provide some basic security features but do not wait for a robust feature.

GPT

GPT contained CRC32 checksum mechanism were records like partitions table header, disk beginning, backup GUID table can be checked. Also, firmware, bootloader, and operating system can be verified against changes too.

MBR

MBR do not provides any security feature.

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