Topic: information needed

What is the difference between the partition tables? Which one is used for what purpose? What is the difference between the partition flags other than the "hidden" and "boot" flag?


Re: information needed

The various partition tables are related to the hardware architecture and the operating system. Linux and the various ms operating systems (like msdos and the various mswindows versions) on intel-type computers (x86, AMD) need the msdos partition table. The Apple systems on PPC architecture, UNIX and related systems on sparc computers etc need other partition table schemes. So, if you belong to the big majority of the x86 computing, you have to use the msdos type.

This partitioning scheme is under question on last years, because it is quite restrictive on new hard drives and systems. Another scheme could be used in the future, related to a new BIOS too. However, I think it is very soon to think on any "global change".

About partition flags:
Boot is rather related to the msdos and mswindows boot up process.
Hidden is related to the multiboot setup including one or more ms operating systems (and/or recovery and check partitions on some OEM systems, like DELL, HP etc).

I have in mind the LBA flag too, that is used for extended partitions. It is related to the need to overcome the physical addressing scheme of a big hard drive on the actual big hard drives. The old BIOS concept can't handle hard drives bigger than about 8 GiB. This could be sufficient for the old personal computers in the 384 or 486 era, where a 500 MiB drive was really "big", but this concept was obsolete even before 2000. As you see, the actual information technology remains still bound by some 30-year old choices.

Wikipedia is a good information source for LBA and partition schemes.

*** It is highly recommended to backup any important files before doing resize/move operations. ***


Re: information needed

Thank you for the reply. Can you provide or direct me to a source that has more "technical" information about those things. Such as what happens to the structure of the HDD, the ones and the zeros, how are they changed. Also what is the source code JUST for the flags and partition tables?


Re: information needed


The english Wikipedia contains a good article about the structure and use of the MBR - after reading (and understanding) this atricle, you should be even able to construct a valid MBR from scratch (as long as you don't need boot code integrated). However, a this article deals with the whole thing in hex notation (which is the usual way to represent byte values) - so if you want to go down to ones and zeroes, you'd have to do the conversion between hex and binary by yourself.