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Windows 7: External backup hard drive, should it be MBR or GPT?

14 Mar 2015   #11
jasonsmith

 
 

With MBR, don't you have more risk of a virus getting in the MBR section and sitting there forever compared to GPT? Not sure how well anti-virus scans the MBR section of an external hard drive. I don't believe software that wipes the entire drive touches the MBR section.

I had read GPT eliminates the risk that you have with a virus getting in and replacing the MBR avoiding detection.

I would DOD wipe and slow format hard drives thinking it was wiping the entire disk removing any and all viruses that may be there. Then I learned that it may not be touching the MBR where a virus can hide undetected and reinfect.

That's when I learned of the GPT and thought that may be a safer option to use for external hard drive since I don't need to boot from it. I don't believe you have an MBR to worry about getting infected sitting there with GPT.


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15 Mar 2015   #12
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
Now you are opening another bag of worms - UEFI. There you probably need GPT.
Exactly.

Wolfgang: If you were building a PC from the ground up tomorrow and using a smallish SSD for the OS and programs and HDDs for storage, would you use GPT or MBR for the boot drive? Assume you have a motherboard that supports UEFI.

As I understand it, you can use MBR partitions on the boot drive and still have the UEFI "look". You just wouldn't have UEFI boot.

I'm going to face this in 6 months or so and am trying to find out if there is some strong over-riding advantage to GPT and UEFI on a boot SSD drive. I'll use GPT on my large storage drives of course.

So far, it appears that UEFI has some so-called advantages, but I'm perfectly comfortable with BIOS and MBR and I'm not clear on how problem-free UEFI is---the last thing I want is problems or compatibility issues.

Nor am I clear on how avoiding an MBR boot disk might affect certain programs---such as Macrium or other backup apps.
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15 Mar 2015   #13
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jasonsmith View Post
With MBR, don't you have more risk of a virus getting in the MBR section and sitting there forever compared to GPT? ......

.......That's when I learned of the GPT and thought that may be a safer option to use for external hard drive since I don't need to boot from it. I don't believe you have an MBR to worry about getting infected sitting there with GPT.
Ah............! Your conceptions are baseless.

Even non-bootable GPT drives - internal or external - will have a Protective MBR at sector 0. And if this protective MBR gets corrupted by any means, you will lose access to your GPT drive and Windows will ask you to initialise and format it .

Here goes my 750GB Seagate GPT External drive with two partitions each holding some 3.5 GB of data.I zeroed this sector 0 - that is corrupted it. Access lost.

External backup hard drive, should it be MBR or GPT?-a15-03-2015-11-32-11.jpg

Windows Disk Management is asking me to initialise it. Should I?

Nope, I won't, for I have a copy of sector 0, PMBR0.bin backed up and I will simply restore Sector 0 with it.

External backup hard drive, should it be MBR or GPT?-15-03-2015-11-48-06.jpg

Hoila .... I am back in business.

External backup hard drive, should it be MBR or GPT?-15-03-2015-11-57-30.jpg

The restored Protective MBR at sector 0:

External backup hard drive, should it be MBR or GPT?-restored-0.jpg

The moral of the story is, if you have diligently backed up the GPT structure data of your drive and if your drive is afflicted with corrupted structure (partition related) you should be able to restore the drive easily. Even if not - meaning that it may not exclusively be a partition related problem - restoring the GPT structure can greatly ease any data recovery attempt.

In the case of MBR disks, one will need to backup only sector 0, the MBR sector. That also contains the partition table. Restoring Sector 0 will instantly resolve the issue of " My drive has suddenly turned RAW" in most cases.

In the case of GPT drives, if one has four partitions as seen by bootice, save Sector 0 ( the protective MBR), sector 1 ( the GPT Header) sector 2 ( GPT partition table of first four partitions), sector n( the last sector of the drive where the backup of GPT Header resides) and sector n-32 ( where the backup of sector 2, the first four partition table resides)


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15 Mar 2015   #14
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote:
Nor am I clear on how avoiding an MBR boot disk might affect certain programs---such as Macrium or other backup apps.
Macrium works on UEFI systems. I have already done images and restored them.
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15 Mar 2015   #15
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
Quote:
Nor am I clear on how avoiding an MBR boot disk might affect certain programs---such as Macrium or other backup apps.
Macrium works on UEFI systems. I have already done images and restored them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jun 2015   #16
Nemix

Windows 7 Professional
 
 

I see no reason not to use GPT on newly formatted external hard drives for data storage unless you need to use to the same external hard drive on a computer that uses an older version Windows than Vista (XP and older).
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 External backup hard drive, should it be MBR or GPT?




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