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

14 Mar 2015   #1
jasonsmith

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

On a computer using Windows 7 64 bit. When using external hard drives for data backup. Is it better to format them for MBR or GPT?

I know MBR is old. And I believe the GPT has redundant partition tables. Though have read of some people having trouble getting data off of drives with GPT as the partitions are "protected".

I thought of going with GPT as it has redundant partition tables, whereas MBR only has a single partition table that if it gets corrupted. That can/will screw the whole drive up and the data on it.

I only use these hard drives for data backup.


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14 Mar 2015   #2
AddRAM

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

This is something you really have to research and decide for yourself. So many variables.

What

GPT vs. MBR: How the humble drive partition led to the larger hard drives we all love | PCWorld
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14 Mar 2015   #3
jasonsmith

 
 

I have researched. And like in your links. Regarding MBR vs. GPT, it just talks about the internal hard drive that runs the OS. I don't see much if any discussion on what you should use on an external hard drive that just stores data.

Only thing I've seen is that Windows 7 can read off of GPT, just that if you want to run the OS off of GPT, then your motherboard has to support it.

Was seeing if there was a consensus on what is better to go with for an external hard drive that is used for data backup. I'd be using Windows 7 to open the external hard drive.
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14 Mar 2015   #4
AddRAM

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

Like the articles say, the drive has to be GPT if it`s over 2 TB for windows to use all of it, if you want more then 4 partitions on the drive etc.

Other then that, I personally see no advantage, all my storage drives are MBR.

Member kbrady1979 has a lot of very large drives, (5 TB) perhaps you could get good advice from him
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14 Mar 2015   #5
jasonsmith

 
 

Looks like GPT is safer from boot corruption compared to MBR. Also viruses/malware can get into the MBR and not sure how well anti-virus and anti-malware scans this area.

I believe starting with Windows 8, the internal hard drives have to be configured to GPT.
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14 Mar 2015   #6
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

There are 2 main reasons to have a GPT drive:

1. The drive is larger than 2.2GB
2. You want to have more than 4 primary partitions.

All the rest is neither here not there. For a Windows 7 system, I would go with MBR for a 2TB or smaller drive.
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14 Mar 2015   #7
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jasonsmith View Post

I believe starting with Windows 8, the internal hard drives have to be configured to GPT.
I was not aware of this.

Can anyone confirm GPT is required on a small boot drive for Win 8 and later?
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14 Mar 2015   #8
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

I don't think that is a requirement. I have all different cases:

1. only 1 active C partition in VMware Player and that is an MBR partition
2. only 2 partitions with 32bit - C (active) and Recovery in GPT
3. 6 primary partitions in GPT with an EFI (active) partition in Fat32

It looks like a normal 8.1 installation will come in GPT, but 8.1 can also run in MBR.
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14 Mar 2015   #9
AddRAM

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

No, it is not required.

8, 8.1, 10 all run from a MBR partitioned drive just fine.

It all depends on what bios you want to use.
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14 Mar 2015   #10
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Now you are opening another bag of worms - UEFI. There you probably need GPT.
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 External backup hard drive, should it be MBR or GPT?




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