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  1. #1
    4 Star Lounger
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    Jun 2001
    Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
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    MBR question (XP SP2)

    Not sure if this is the right forum, but I use XP, so I'll post here, but if I'm in the wrong place, please let me know.

    I've been having some trouble with my McAfee when I subscribed to a new version. As part of the clean-up exercise McAfee's techies got me to do a DOS scan (which found nothing). But it did raise one question with me.##

    After completing the scan of each disk, it gives a summary for that disk. The bit that interests me is

    Master Boot Records 2

    McAfee seems happy with this, but I don't understand why I should have 2 on each disk. (I have 2 physical disks each partitioned into 2 logical drives, giving me a C: D: E: & F: drives). I've searched with Google, but as I got 2.6 million answers, I haven't yet found an explanation.

    Without getting too techie, can someone point me at a document that might explain this, and whether there is a problem in having two entries here.


  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Re: MBR question (XP SP2)

    Technically, only partitioned media contains a master boot record; while unpartitioned media only has a boot sector as the first sector. In both cases the BIOS init transfers control to the first sector of the disk after reading it into memory. A legacy MBR contains partition selection code which loads and runs the boot (first) sector of the selected primary partition. That partition boot sector would contain another boot loader. Newer MBRs, however, can directly load the next stage from an arbitrary location on the hard drive. This can pose some problems with dual-booting, as the boot loader whose location is coded into the MBR must be configured to load each operating system. If one operating system must be reinstalled, it may overwrite the MBR such that it will load a different boot loader.

    In other words, two HDs, two partitions, two MBRs. Google MBR and it will give you many hits with varying degrees of technical stuff in them.

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