mbr command


mbr verify [interface] [device no] [partition list]
mbr write [interface] [device no] [partition list]


The mbr command lets users create or verify the MBR (Master Boot Record) partition layout based on the provided text description. The partition layout is alternatively read from the ‘mbr_parts’ environment variable. This can be used in scripts to help system image flashing tools to ensure proper partition layout.

The syntax of the text description of the partition list is similar to the one used by the ‘gpt’ command.

Supported partition parameters are:

  • name (currently ignored)

  • start (partition start offset in bytes)

  • size (in bytes or ‘-’ to expand it to the whole free area)

  • bootable (boolean flag)

  • id (MBR partition type)

If one wants to create more than 4 partitions, an ‘Extended’ primary partition (with 0x05 ID) has to be explicitly provided as a one of the first 4 entries.

Here is an example how to create a 6 partitions (3 on the ‘extended volume’), some of the predefined sizes:

=> setenv mbr_parts 'name=boot,start=4M,size=128M,bootable,id=0x0e;
=> mbr write mmc 0

To check if the layout on the MMC #0 storage device matches the provided text description one has to issue following command (assuming that mbr_parts environment variable is set):

=> mbr verify mmc 0

The verify sub-command is especially useful in the system update scripts:

=> if mbr verify mmc 0; then
     echo MBR layout needs to be updated

The ‘mbr write’ command returns 0 on success write or 1 on failure.

The ‘mbr verify’ returns 0 if the layout matches the one on the storage device or 1 if not.


To use the mbr command you must specify CONFIG_CMD_MBR=y.

Return value

The variable $? takes the following values


mbr write was succesful


mbr write failed


mbr verify was succesful


mbr verify was not succesful


invalid arguments