I'm talking about something like a backup copy located on a drive, in addition to the main.

If there is, how would I be able to retrieve it and write the backup back to the main partition?


The MBR partition table does not have a backup, but some tools can try to discover old partition locations by scanning the whole drive.

(A GPT partition table does have a copy; the backup GPT header is on the very last sector of a disk, while the partition entries precede it. On Linux, gdisk aka gptfdisk can restore the backup to main GPT. Many recent computers in fact use GPT+UEFI, rather than MBR+BIOS.)

The MFT "master file table" is a filesystem concept, so it is per-partition and depends on which filesystem each partition uses. For example, NTFS does have a backup copy, which TestDisk can restore files from.

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    I believe NTFS is the only file system that actually uses the term MFT or Master File Table. Other file systems of course have data structures that serve a similar purpose, but they call them by other names. – user Oct 9 '15 at 19:56
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    'FAT' is actually short for 'File Allocation Table', with the "filesystem" implied from this. The table keeps track of where files are stored - which should be about the same as what a 'MFT' is used for. – Hannu Oct 9 '15 at 20:00
  • @grawity, does that mean I can't use any MBR backup to replace a corrupt MBR or correct one? There's a long running issue I'm having, you can join the discussion and share your insight: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/29827/… – xCare Oct 10 '15 at 11:57
  • @grawity, your answer only answers a portion of my question, please indicate the software and steps to write an MBR back to an HDD. – xCare Oct 11 '15 at 12:28

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