Differences and Similarities Between MBR and GPT

Differences and Similarities Between MBR and GPT

Below is some information about the main differences between MBR and GPT partitions, so you are aware on when to use different partitioning systems:


  • Can only have four primary partitions
  • Partitions can be read by using logical block addressing (LBA) notation, which has a 32-bit value and therefore allows up to 2TiB to be read
  • There did exist cylinder/head/sector (CHS) notation but that only read up to 8GiB of disk space so it is now obsolete with increase of storage
  • You can use one of the primary partitions as an extended partition to create logical partitions (not very useful anymore since GPT has 128 primary partitions and therefore why would you create an extended partition)
  • Created in 1983
  • Each primary partition can only be 2TiB in size
  • Older Hard Drive and therefore most compatible with most systems
  • If Hard Drives are greater than 2TiB, then any space above 2TiB will be lost space
  • If the Hard Drives are less than 2TiB, generally speaking there is no need to have a GPT system
  • 2 byte Partition type identifier



  • Can have 128 primary partition on a device
  • As hard drives become more readily available and people exceed using 2TiB, GPT will be the partitioning system used by all
  • Each partition can have a maximum disk partition of 4 ZiB of data
  • GPT uses 64 bit disk pointers and therefore allow up to 9.4 ZiB or 9.4 billion TiB
  • GPT data structure stores data twice on the disk: one at the start and one at the end
  • Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) improves ability to detect data corruption
  • Requires Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) to be enabled - an upgrade from the traditional BIOS and is available by default on recent servers for the last couple of years
  • Requires 64 bit hardware & Operating System, not compatible with Windows Server that is older than Windows 2003
  • Developed in the late 1990s
  • 16 byte partition type GUID – explains type of data on partition and also the use of the partition
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