In the process of learning how to reinstall Windows or create a USB Boot, you will often be reminded by blogs about the terms UEFI and Legacy, MBR and GPT. So what is it, and how does it work on the computer? Should I use UEFI and Legacy or MBR and GPT?
If you still do not understand precisely how UEFI and Legacy BIOS are and the differences between MBR and GPT? In this article, I will summarize complete information about these phrases and share personal experiences to help you answer these questions in the best way.
1. What is Legacy BIOS and UEFI?
Legacy BIOS Standard Concept
Legacy BIOS or abbreviated BIOS (full name is Basic Input Output System) was born in 1975. It is software stored on the main motherboard chip of the computer, the main function of this software is to instructions for running the hardware components to start the operating system on the computer.
When you open the computer, the BIOS starts working to check the hardware such as the Ram, the Microprocessor first, the peripheral devices such as Mouse, Keyboard, Printer, and boot options. drive, in order from CD-Rom, Hard Disk, LAN, …
The standard concept of UEFI
UEFI was born in 2005 and fully named Unified Extensible Firmware Inter, it is also the software used to guide the hardware after turning on the computer to help boot the computer operating system.
UEFI is designed to address Legacy BIOS shortcomings and is currently widespread use and will replace the Legacy BIOS in the future.
Similarities between Legacy BIOS and UEFI
Both Legacy BIOS and UEFI are software with interfaces to check the computer’s access devices and help the computer operate stably; it acts as an interpreter between the hardware and the system operator to help the computer startup.
When turning on the computer, both UEFI and Legacy will check and guide the computer’s hardware to help them run the operating system contained on the hard drive.
Differences between Legacy BIOS and UEFI
- It has a nice and easy to use software interface
- Supports hard drives in two standards MBR and GPT
- The startup speed is quite fast
- Support booting with hard drives over 2TB
- Support for Secure Boot mode prevents malicious software from starting with Windows.
- Stored in Non-Volatile region (Memory does not become corrupted if power is lost)
- It has a rudimentary and simple software interface
- Hard drives with GPT standard are not supported
- The startup speed is relatively slow
- I cannot help boot with a hard drive larger than 2TB
- Less safe because there is no protection
- It is contained in the Firmware, so it is easy to damage when the power is out.
2. Is your computer supporting UEFI or Legacy BIOS?
Access PC or Laptop BIOS
Step 1: You need to use a keyboard shortcut to access the computer’s BIOS.
Step 2: In the BIOS interface, switch to the Menu Boot tab. If you see lines like UEFI or Security Boot, your computer supports UEFI, if not, the computer will not support it.
Use the HWiNFO software
Step 1: You can download this software at this link: HWiNFO
Step 2: Proceed to extract the downloaded file, then right-click on the .exe file to select Run As Administrator.
Step 3: Click the RUN button to run the software, two interfaces will appear, please turn off the System Summary window.
Now, point to the UEFI Boot line on the software. If this line appears “Present“, it means the computer supports UEFI mode.
In case you see the line “Not Present“, the computer is operating in Legacy BIOS mode and does not support UEFI. However, you need to check one more step to see if the computer supports UEFI or not because “Not Present” says that the computer does not support UEFI.
On the left side of the HWiNFO software interface, click on the Mainboard line >> Find the UEFI BIOS line as shown below.
If you see the words “Capable“, that means your computer supports UEFI, and if the line “Not Capable” appears, the computer does not support it.
Use the System Information program
Step 1: Open the Run dialog box from your computer, you can quickly open it with the Windows + R keyboard shortcut.
Step 2: Enter the command line below and press Enter.
The System Information interface appears, look to the BIOS Mode line, then you will determine whether the computer is using Legacy or UEFI mode.
Use the DiskPart program
Step 1: Open the Run dialog box, enter “diskpart” and press Enter.
Step 2: Quickly enter the command “list disk” and press Enter.
Then, a list of hard drives on the hard drive will appear. If there is an “*” in the GPT column, it means that the hard drive is running in standard GPT, and without a “*”, it is running at MBR. From there, you can see if the computer supports Legacy BIOS or UEFI.
However, I do not recommend it because it cannot check correctly if the computer supports UEFI. This method is only suitable to check that the hard drive uses the MBR or GPT standard only.
3. What are MBR and GPT?
When initializing a new disk on Windows operating system, you will be asked to choose between standard MBR and GPT. Although MBR is more compatible than GPT, it has many limitations, so in the future, the GPT standard will gradually replace MBR. Furthermore, more and more operating systems support GPT, not only Windows but also macOS and Linux.
MBR and GPT are both standards of the hard drive in defining the data import and export method and the arrangement and partitioning of the hard drive.
MBR was introduced in 1983 on the PC DOS 2.0 series. With MBR hard drive (full name is Master Boot Record), you can only divide up to 4 primary partitions (Primary) or 3 main partitions with 1 extra partition (Extended Partition). One of the big selling points of MBR is that it only supports 2TB capacities back.
GPT has only appeared in the past few years and in GPT hard drives (full name is GUID Partition Table), you can partition hard drives for up to 128 partitions and support capacities larger than 2TB.
The interesting thing is that we can completely use software to convert MBR to GPT and vice versa.
Comparison between standard MBR and GPT
- Supports up to 1 billion TB
- Allows creating up to 128 partitions
- More secure because it supports creating multiple backups of data
- Only UEFI computers are supported
- Support Windows 64 bit, from Windows 7 and above, in Windows 8 and later will have additional 32bit support.
- Supports up to 2TB
- Only allows creating 4 partitions
- Less secure than GPT
- It can be used on computers with both BIOS or UEFI standards
- Only supports Windows 32bit
4. How to check whether the hard drive is using standard MBR or GPT
You can refer to the instructions above.
Using Computer Management
Step 1: Open the Run dialog box and enter the following command and enter.
Step 2: Select the right mouse on the hard drive to check and then click the Properties button.
Step 3: Switch to the Volumes tab, if you see the Master Boot Record (MBR) line, that means the hard drive is using the standard MBR, and if the GUID Partition Table (GPT) line is using GPT.
Use This PC
Step 1: Open This PC or My Computer on your computer and right-click any drive >> Select Properties.
Step 2: Click on the Volumes tab >> Select Populate. A new window appears, you continue to switch to the Volumes tab >> Select Populate again.
Now, you can determine which standard the hard drive is using.
5. Compatibility between MBR / BIOS and GPT / UEFI
Currently, new computers are often used incompatible pairs, for example, if using a hard drive using the MBR standard, you must go with the BIOS, if you use UEFI, you must use a hard drive with GPT standard for the computer to work the best.
You can not use GPT hard drive with BIOS because it does not support it, but you can use GPT and MBR standard hard drive on UEFI.
With the rapid and powerful development of technology today, human demand is constantly increasing, such as wanting to play better and smoother graphics games, a strong configuration is required to install Graphics program for learning, working, etc…
The use of a GPT hard drive is almost REQUIRED because it solves the weaknesses of MBR, which is quite old and outdated since its development in 1975.
Moreover, when using GPT / UEFI, you will feel your computer will boot and shut down much faster than MBR / UEFI or MBR / BIOS.
Are UEFI standards safer than Legacy?
UEFI supports Secure Boot mode, so it is safer than Legacy. It will help block any malware from starting when Windows.
How do I know if my computer supports UEFI?
Since computers in 2010 up to now, they are often supported in UEFI. You can check by going to Bios >> Boot Mode to see if this mode is available or not? If you can not find it, you can create a USB Boot with two standard Legacy BIOS and UEFI to check if there is a Legacy line and a UEFI line, it supports this standard.
So you know what UEFI and Legacy BIOS, as well as MBR and GPT, are, right? Hopefully, the article will help you better understand these terms and at the same time, there will be specific changes to help your computer work better. If you have any other questions or concerns, don’t forget to leave your comments in the comments below!