Hard disk or disk drive is the main storage hardware on a PC or laptop. The hard disk is a place where the operating system, programs and files are stored. Before installing an operating system such as Microsoft Windows, the hard disk needs to be partitioned first. In the process, you will be asked to determine whether to use the MBR or GBT partition type or structure.
The type or structure of this partition will relate to how data or information is stored on the partition, where the partition starts and ends and the code used for startup if the partition is bootable. By default, the MBR (Master Boot Record) will be selected, but you can change it by selecting the GPT (GUID Partition Table). MBR and GPT have different ways of storing partition information on drives.
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MBR is an old method but is still the default option in Windows 10 or Windows Server 2012. Generally, MBR is used for old operating systems and hardware. GPT is a new standard and has more features and needs a newer operating system and maybe new hardware. MBR only works for disk sizes up to 2 TB and supports up to 4 main partitions. GPT can work for larger sizes and there are almost no partition restrictions.
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This article does not explain the details regarding the two types of MBR and GPT partitions, but shows you how to check whether the disk on a Windows PC or laptop uses the MBR or GPT partition type. In Windows, you can check whether the disk uses the MBR or GPT partition type in two ways: using the Disk Management Tool and the diskpart command and disk list. Here is how:
- Using the Disk Management Tool.
Press the Windows + R keyboard combination to open or run the Windows Run dialog box, type diskmgmt.msc (1) and then click the OK button (2) or press the Enter keyboard key.
In the Disk Management window that appears, right-click on the disk you want to check, for example Disk 0 (1), to display the shortcut menu and then select Properties (2).
In the properties dialog box of the disk name that appears, click the Volumes (1) tab and you can see the disk partition type, which is MBR (2).
- Using the diskpart command and disk list.
Open or run the Command Prompt as Administrator, when diskpart (1) and then press the Enter key. Next, type disk list (2) and then press the Enter keyboard key. A list of disks is displayed. If in Gpt column (3) there is an asterisk character (*), then the disk partition type is GPT, conversely, if it does not exist, then the disk partition type is MBR. Because the Gpt column has no asterisk characters, Disk 0 has an MBR partition type.