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Windows 7: Using GPT or MBR for a pure backup drive.

09 Feb 2016   #1
Nozyspy

Windows 7 64bit
 
 
Using GPT or MBR for a pure backup drive.

I'm not sure if this is the right place to put this, but this forum is the closest I could find to what my question is.

I have got a second internal harddrive to use as a pure backup drive for stuff like pictures, vids, music etc. (no system stuff) and when it asks me to initialize the drive it asks for either MBR or GPT.

To the best of what I have been able too find out so far, the main advantages of GPT are to do with partition size, and drives over 2TB. However since the drive is only 1TB that doesn't seem useful.

However it seems that MBR is more susceptible to boot corruption because the partition and boot data is only stored in one place, whereas GPT has redundant copies. The main issue with GPT seems to be compatibility.

I am really baffled, on the one hand I have seen lots of people say just to use MBT because it is tried and tested and GPT is only useful for drives over 2TB. But then on the other hand since this is a backup drive and I want that data to be safe, does GPT provide any advantage in terms of the redundant partition data, even though it will never be used as a boot drive?

Also I presume that the (non system) files and folders that will go in the backup would be able to be restored from a MBR drive to GPT drive (if upgrading to a new version of Windows in the future) and vice versa? I read that an MBR backup couldnt be restored to a GPT drive, but I am assuming that is an entire system image with the operating system and not just select files and folders?

Any advice would be much appreciated!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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12 Feb 2016   #2
Nozyspy

Windows 7 64bit
 
 

Update: So I came across this post/thread here: External backup hard drive, should it be MBR or GPT?

Which seems to suggest that GPT doesnt provide full protection against corrupted partition information, so I am even more confused as to what the advantages are of these redundant partition data files. :S

So far the majority of places i have looked at seem to say to just go with MBR unless the drive is over 2TB (its only 1TB) so unless anyone can provide a really compelling reason to consider GPT I might just go with MBR. :S
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Feb 2016   #3
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Use MBR and you are on the safe side.
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14 Feb 2016   #4
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

- Ditto -

Save the important sectors in the Partition Table shown by Bootice. If you have any partition related problems making the drive inaccessible, you can simply restore the saved sectors to regain the drive.(Save the sectors on some other drive and not the same drive)

Saving with Bootice: Lost partitions!

Using GPT or MBR for a pure backup drive.-14-02-2016-18-29-01.jpg

Note: If you have only four primary partitions you need to save only the LBA0 and four NTFS bootsectors ( Volume Boot Record/Partition Boot Record) shown in Bootice. In the sample screenshot above, I have three primary partitions and three logical partitions in the extended partition. I would save all the LBAs/Sectors shown in it with proper identifying names that includes the LBA/sector Number)

You need to take a fresh backup of the sectors only if you change the partition structure ( like adding a new partition, extending /merging the partition/s) any time. That answers the question you posed in the PM.

So if you change the partition structure anytime, run bootice again and save the sectors shown in bootice including LBA 0 since it contains the partition table and that partition table will change when you change the partition structure. After saving the sectors afresh, delete the old saved sectors.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Feb 2016   #5
AddRAM

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

MBR
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Feb 2016   #6
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

@ OP. For your purposes-data storage only-it will not matter which format you use. You need MBR only if you're booting off it on a legacy BIOS MOBO. If you boot off a UEFI board, you would need GPT. You also need GPT when formatting a drive larger than 2TB. I'm using a 4TB GPT formatted HDD inside my computer that is using legacy boot and my 4TB backup HDDs are also GPT formatted; all six of them work just fine.

Also, there is no need to get complicated when formatting the drive. Choose MBR or GPT, format it, and just use it. Easy peasy.

Here is an article on the differences between MBR and GPT.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Feb 2016   #7
AddRAM

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Feb 2016   #8
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
If you boot off a UEFI board, you would need GPT.
I have built 3 PCs with UEFI motherboards and I use MBR booting for all three. Of course I enjoy the benefits of the UEFI BIOS interface over the old legacy BIOS interface.

By choice all my internal and external drives are 2TB or less and they are all MBR formatted. If I go greater than 2TB I'll go GPT.

The MBR is stored in the first physical 512 bytes of your drive and contains some boot code and the very important partition table. Backing it up for the partition table is worthwhile since this will not be replaced by software that "rebuilds the MBR". A nice little program for this is:
MBR Backup

If you have a boot/OS drive not greater than 2TB it can be MBR and if one of your other drives is >2TB then it can be formatted GPT. Just make sure your backup software supports GPT.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Feb 2016   #9
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
...The MBR is stored in the first physical 512 bytes of your drive and contains some boot code and the very important partition table. Backing it up for the partition table is worthwhile since this will not be replaced by software that "rebuilds the MBR". A nice little program for this is:
MBR Backup
I try to keep things as simple as possible (it's easier on my simple mind, not to mention I'm lazy). I just backup the entire C: drive using Macrium Reflect.
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 Using GPT or MBR for a pure backup drive.




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