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Is GPT or MBR partition better?

When adding a drive to a newer PC, one is often presented with a choice to use either a MBR or GPT partition structure. This defines how information is stored on the SSD/HDD, and how the drive starts if a partition is bootable. Below are advantages and limitations of both partition types to help you make an educated choice.

MBR (Master Boot Record)
MBR is a partitioning standard that exists since 1984, consisting of a special boot sector located at the beginning of a drive.

MBR only works with disks up to 2 TB in size, and supports only up to 4 primary partitions per disk. There is a way to create more than 4 partitions by making logical "extended partitions" into one of the primary partitions.

The advantage of MBR is that it is backwards compatible with older 32-bit and BIOS-based systems.

GPT (GUID Partition Table)
GPT is a newer partitioning standard allowing for much larger volumes than MBR, and nearly unlimited number of partitions, depending on your OS. Windows supports up to 128 partitions per GPT disk.

Windows can only boot from GPT partitions on UEFI-based computers running 64-bit versions of Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista (and corresponding Windows server versions). 32-bit versions of Windows and BIOS-based PCs can still read/write to GPT drives, they just cannot be used to boot from.

In conclusion, GPT is a more modern standard that has many advantages and should probably be used with larger drives, unless you need compatibility with older, 32-bit/BIOS-based systems.

See also:
FAT32, exFAT, or NTFS format for USB flash drives?

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