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Windows 7: MBR vs GPT

20 Oct 2009   #1

Vista
 
 
MBR vs GPT

I have a Vista notebook with:

C: Vista and all other files
D: HP Recovery partition
E: Optical drive
F: USB drive

I intend to split C so I have a dual boot Vista/Win 7 system as follows:

C: Vista
G: Win 7
H: My non-OS files
unused: Reserved for Ubuntu and expansion of other partitions
D: HP recovery partition
E: Optical drive
F: USB drive

I have 2 decisions to make:

1. C is currently 285GB. I need to decide on the size of each partition,
2. Whether to use MBR or GPT.

Presently, I do not have Win 7 compatible backup, or partitioning software that will support, as far as I know, GPT.

My question is should I convert all drives to GPT when I have such software?

Or, am I stuck with MBR?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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20 Oct 2009   #2

Win7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Howard Kaikow View Post
Presently, I do not have Win 7 compatible backup, or partitioning software that will support, as far as I know, GPT.
Perhaps I'm a little less knowledgeable, but what is a backup or partitioning software that supports or doesn't support GPT? I mean to say, what does backup have to do with the partition table and what's wrong with Windows' partition software?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Oct 2009   #3

Windows Vista Business / Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

Windows 7 can only boot from a GPT partition if its IA64 edition (doesnt exist) or running an EFI instead of BIOS, which I seriously doubt you have.

XP cant boot from GPT at all and Vista can only under the same circumstances as Windows 7.

In short, not only can you not use it, you really have no reason to do so.

EDIT: While i think you can use MBR+GPT to with MBR for the boot drives and GPT for storage i think you will just be overcomplicating your setup.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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20 Oct 2009   #4

Win7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Jordus View Post
EDIT: While i think you can use MBR+GPT to with MBR for the boot drives and GPT for storage i think you will just be overcomplicating your setup.
Hybrid MBRs

There seems to be very little desire to move on to GPT (mostly because backward compatibility). Is the MBR good enough for people not to care? It's quite obvious that the MBR will become obsolete soon enough, and at the rate technology advances, it seems a little weird to me that it's not becoming the standard, yet. Perhaps people/the industry only makes change when they're forced to?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Oct 2009   #5

Windows Vista Business / Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

Well first we will have to see PC OEMs move to EFI instead of BIOS, so we can boot from GPT.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Oct 2009   #6

Vista
 
 

OK, I'll stick with MBR.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jul 2010   #7

Win 7
 
 
What Microsoft has to say

Windows and GPT FAQ

Fact 5. Is EFI required for a GPT disk?
No. GPT disks are self-identifying. All the information needed to interpret the partitioning scheme of a GPT disk is completely contained in structures in specified locations on the physical media.

for full list of FAQ's visit this link
Windows and GPT FAQ: Version 1.1
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jul 2011   #8

Win 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I know the last post here is almost a year old, but I did want to post my findings/questions regarding EFI.

First off, for anyone curious how to use EFI booting for Windows (Server 2003, 2008, Vista, 7...) please see this Technet article:

Installing Windows to an EFI-Based Computer

This shows that it is possible to do so, either using an EFI shell built into the motherboard (most Intel boards contain the EFI shell for UEFI compatibility), or using an EFI boot loader installed to the EFI partition on the GPT formatted hard drive. This much is at least my understanding of what is required.

Furthermore, I've been experimenting with installing Mac OSX on my system - which I legally own and have the right to install - and have successfully installed it and upgraded it to OS X Lion (with Win 7 HP on my MBR disc). I am not here to try to convert people to OS X (I'm a MS certified tech consultant), but I will share what I discovered in this experiment of mine.

Apple OS X (at least Snow Leopard and newer) requires to be installed to a GPT formatted volume. My hard ware is a Gigabyte motherboard, and to the best of my telling, has no support for UEFI. What I did find, is the boot loader uses EFI to detect all volumes. So, there technically is the ability today to install all OSes from Windows Server 2003 SP1 and later in EFI mode, without an explicit requirement to be off of a traditional BIOS.

I am also experimenting with how to do this, if possible, to convert my Win 7 install to a GPT partition on a second hard disk containing the OS X install. I have not been able to use my typical cloning software to copy the partition to a GPT partition, as it does not even appear visibly as an appropriate destination to clone to. I am going to try using CloneZilla to clone to this partition, and I'll let you know what I find. If it works and I can boot to Win 7 using the EFI boot loader for OS X, I will post that finding here. If someone has already tried this, I would be very appreciative to hear how things turned out.



Thanks,
Jon
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jul 2011   #9

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Asus is the only manufacture with a UEFI BIOS (that I know off). Regardless of this, Windows Home Server seems to reject GPT even on these machines
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jul 2011   #10

Win 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

What you could do (and what I found to be easier) is create a goot LUN if you're using raid. Leave the first span, or lun, as mbr and install the OS to it. Then place your data on the GPT formatted span. Quickest way to get a server up and running with data on a 2TB+ volume.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 MBR vs GPT




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