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Formatting new drive, MBR or GPT?

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August 23, 2011 3:41:41 PM

Hi,

I just purchased a Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB (WD1002FAEX) and plugged it in. However, Windows wants me to initialize the disk and gives me two options for this:

1. MBR (Master Boot Record)
and
2. GPT (GUID Partition Table)

So my question is which one of these should I chose? And does it have any influence what my other drives are (I don't really know what they are since I haven't seen this before)? My other disks are a Vertex 2 SSD and an old Samsung F1 1TB disk. I am running Windows 7 Professional 64 bit.

I hope someone can help. Thanks :) 
a c 289 G Storage
August 23, 2011 3:46:38 PM

Intialize it as MBR. This format, which has been around since the DOS days, is good enough for any drive below 2.2 terabytes.

You need GPT for drives larger than that, Windows 7 or Vista (I think) to read a GPT disk, and a motherboard with UEFI instead of BIOS to boot from one. These motherboards are currently few and far between.
August 23, 2011 3:48:37 PM

Thanks for your quick reply :)  Im not going to boot from it, at least not right now in this setup - despite this I should still go MBR? Are there any speed differences?
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a c 289 G Storage
August 23, 2011 3:53:52 PM

No speed differences. No need to go GPT on a drive under 2.2 TB. Unless you want to create more than four partitions, but that's pretty rare.
August 23, 2011 3:59:54 PM

Ok thank you very much. Guess that means I am going MBR :) 
a c 415 G Storage
August 23, 2011 4:12:07 PM

^+1.

No reason whatsoever to use GPT unless you have a drive that's simply too big for MBR.
August 24, 2011 6:20:32 AM

WyomingKnott said:
No need to go GPT on a drive under 2.2 TB.


Don't you mean PARTITION rather than drive? From what I've read, only individual partitions are limited to 2.19 TB, e.g. I could have a 10 GB drive with five 2 GB partitions and still use MBR.
a c 415 G Storage
August 24, 2011 7:08:29 AM

quatrix said:
From what I've read, only individual partitions are limited to 2.19 TB, e.g. I could have a 10 GB drive with five 2 GB partitions and still use MBR.
Not true. The sector numbers in an MBR partition table can't hold sector numbers greater than 4 billion. 4 billion times 512 bytes per sector = 2048 billion sectors = 2.2TB. It's not just the SIZE of the partitions that's the issue, it's also their STARTING sector number that MBR can't handle.

You CAN use an MBR partition table with a drive larger than 2.2TB but you won't be able to create partitions that extend past the 2.2TB limit, which means that you'll have wasted space on the drive.

Larger sector sizes would eliminate the problem and raise the cap, but the current round of "advanced format" drives that use 4096-byte sectors hide those large sectors behind firmware that reports 512-byte sectors to the host in order to maintain compatibility with existing and older operating systems.

In theory, an MBR partition table could specify a partition whose starting sector was right at the 2.2TB limit and whose size was 2.2TB, allowing partitions to fill up to 4.4TB of a large volume. In practice, though, the software that reads the MBR can't be guaranteed to perform the arithmetic properly for the sectors beyond 2.2TB and so you really can't go there.
August 24, 2011 2:16:26 PM

Thanks for the clarification. The distinction between disk and partition here makes a huge difference.
January 29, 2012 11:55:41 AM

Coming in late on this one but help me out please.

Got two 3TB Seagate Barracuda HDs in my new build using Asus p8Z68 V-Pro/GEN3, so I have UEFI Bios. A couple of issues have come up including NOT being able to create a RAID array in IRST (version 10.6). Second issue if I just wanted to set them up for mega-storage and backup (not RAID), Windows7 64 bit shows only 2.2TB as the capacity. Since I just loaded windows I have no partitions on this master boot drive. Still have not enabled the second drive until I know I can get the 3TB capacity. What am I missing?
January 29, 2012 6:43:39 PM

Most legacy systems built before 2011 have a traditional PC BIOS. This type of BIOS uses a Master Boot Record (MBR). The MBR Partitions can define a disk drive capacity up to 2.2TB. Windows operating systems that boot from an MBR are therefore limited to 2.2TB per MBR. A 3TB disk drive in a legacy BIOS and Window system will need a DiscWizard device driver to access the full capacity of a 3TB disk drive. Two partitions will be necessary because of the MBR limitation. The device driver mounts the capacity above 2.2TB with another MBR which looks to the system as a second virtual “physical” device.

GUID Partition Tables (GPT) can define drives larger than 2.2TB. You can use GPT today on any Windows 7 and Vista system as a non-booting data drive. Windows can only boot a GPT partition on a new type of BIOS called UEFI.

UEFI BIOS desktop systems are new since 2011. Windows 7 64-bit and Vista 64-bit operating systems support booting from UEFI and GPT without the need of a non-Microsoft device driver. This is the Windows native solution for booting a 3TB drive to a single partition.

http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/crm/selfservice/searc...
September 9, 2012 1:04:02 AM

so after you do this whats the next option to get to use the new added harddrive?


edit: I figured it out :)  my new hdd its working :)  how you can find the best answer soon.
September 25, 2012 1:38:33 PM

Your disk space only 1TB,the best choice is mbr,because more software support mbr.
April 7, 2013 10:37:14 AM

Ok, I'm following along. Just installed a second 120 GB SSD. I'd like to extend the current drive C (also a 120GB SSD) with the new drive. I've initialized the drive and it shows up in the Disk Management program. But the Extend Volume menu choice is disabled for this drive. The choice is enabled for my traditional internal hard drive as well as my external drive.

Any ideas? Can I not extend the primary drive?
October 14, 2013 3:16:17 AM

KraigW said:
Ok, I'm following along. Just installed a second 120 GB SSD. I'd like to extend the current drive C (also a 120GB SSD) with the new drive. I've initialized the drive and it shows up in the Disk Management program. But the Extend Volume menu choice is disabled for this drive. The choice is enabled for my traditional internal hard drive as well as my external drive.

Any ideas? Can I not extend the primary drive?


you cant take storage space from another hard disk to extend the partition present in first(primary) disk.
case-1: you can use present left off space in first hard disk as a partition and you can create partitions with the space in the second one.
case-2: if you want to combine the space of both the hard disk's you need to perform raid levels i.e; you need to convert them into dynamic disks which results in loss of data & the two disks might not support for booting.
!