MBR does have its limitations. For starters, MBR only works with disks up to 2 TB in size. MBR also only supports up to four primary partitions—if you want more, you have to make one of your primary partitions an “extended partition” and create logical partitions inside it. This is a silly little hack and shouldn’t be necessary.
GPT stands for GUID Partition Table. It’s a new standard that’s gradually replacing MBR. It’s associated with UEFI, which replaces the clunky old BIOS with something more modern. GPT, in turn, replaces the clunky old MBR partitioning system with something more modern. It’s called GUID Partition Table because every partition on your drive has a “globally unique identifier,” or GUID—a random string so long that every GPT partition on earth likely has its own unique identifier.
GPT doesn’t suffer from MBR’s limits. GPT-based drives can be much larger, with size limits dependent on the operating system and its file systems. GPT also allows for a nearly unlimited number of partitions.
On an MBR disk, the partitioning and boot data is stored in one place. If this data is overwritten or corrupted, you’re in trouble. In contrast, GPT stores multiple copies of this data across the disk, so it’s much more robust and can recover if the data is corrupted.
GPT also stores cyclic redundancy check (CRC) values to check that its data is intact. If the data is corrupted, GPT can notice the problem and attempt to recover the damaged data from another location on the disk. MBR had no way of knowing if its data was corrupted—you’d only see there was a problem when the boot process failed or your drive’s partitions vanished.