I am reformatting an older 40meg drive using gparted from within a Linux distro. The drive had no partitions and no partition table, so I am creating a new Partition Table via the Advanced option.

The default partition type is msdos, which I think is the same as MBR in parted. The description sounds right: maximum of 4 primary partitions, or 3 primary and 1 extended partition, maximum of 2 tb with 512b sectors.

There are a number of other options, gpt being one. Which I would use if the drive was greater than 2 tb.

The following partition types are also available: apx, amiga, bsd, dvh, mac, pc98, sun, loop.

The question: what are these other types and where can I find a description or discussion about them?

Secondary question: is there any reason to not use gpt on a smaller drive?


  • Is this really a 40 Mega Byte drive? Jun 7, 2014 at 16:26
  • @MariusMatutiae, thank-you for that catch. No, it is not meg. It should have said gig. The drive is an older 40 Gigabyte drive. Jun 8, 2014 at 20:20

1 Answer 1


Most of the partition types are explained in http://www.linux.org/threads/partition-tables.4895/.

You would use types other than MBR or GPT only if you want to run the associated operating systems.

You would not use GPT if you want to access the disc from an older operating system (eg Windows XP and earlier, though disc manufacturers do provide BIOS patches for some of them - I happily access a 3TB Hitachi disc from XP with their patch from Paragon). The note in the above link about removable storage is relevant.

I would always use MBR unless the disc is over 2TB, never knowing which OS I might want to access it from in the future. But then I sometimes do undertake jobs which are out of the ordinary...

  • Thank-you for your advice and the link. The link answered my question this way (remember I am working within a Linux system): "You may also be wondering which is the best one for you. Well, use MBR with Windows and mobile systems (like Android), APM on PowerPC Macs and iOS, RDB on Amiga, and GPT on all other systems. However, you may have specific reasons for placing an OS on a different partition table than what is recommended one sentence previous." Therefore, I think the correct answer is to use gpt unless I intend to also read this with DOS or Windows. (I did use mbr, anyways). Jun 8, 2014 at 20:26

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