Master Boot Record (MBR)

Master Boot Record (MBR) is a type of computer data structure that is used to identify a computer’s boots, partitions and eventually the operating system that is installed on the computer. A MBR is typically written to a computer’s primary storage device, which is usually a hard drive or a floppy disk.

The MBR is a special type of data structure in BIOS-based computers that contains essential information about the installed operating system and file systems, such as the location of the active partition and the boot partition of the installed operating system. It is also used to store information that can be used for diagnostics and recovery information, such as the list of installed disk drives or other devices connected to the computer.

The MBR is organized into four main components: the master boot code, the partition table, the boot sector and the disk signature. The master boot code is responsible for searching the partition table to determine which partition to boot from. Once the active partition is determined, the master boot code loads the boot sector and the operating system is started.

The partition table stores information about each active partition including the type of partition (FAT, NTFS, EXT4, etc.), the starting sector on the disk, the size of the partition, the assigned drive letter, etc. The boot sector is a special boot program that actually loads the operating system and provides a user interface or command prompt. The disk signature is a special number that uniquely identifies the disk to the system.

MBR is an essential component of a computer’s BIOS and is used to boot the installed operating system and manage the system’s storage devices. It is usually stored in the master boot record sector of the primary storage. It can be damaged or corrupted by a virus, power failure, or user error, which might lead to boot failure. It is essential to back up any important data before attempting to write a new MBR, in order to prevent any data damage.

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