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GUID partition scheme

If I try to change a partition scheme of a 4 partition HDD from Apple to GUID, iPartition warns me that 'system partition' will be erased. What does that mean? Thanks.
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Recovering reformatted partition

I have an external drive that had a single HFS+ partition (GPT). It was accidentally formatted. How can I recover the lost partition? I "know" the old partition map which (coincidentally?) is the same ...
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HD accidentally reformatted to MBR, how to get back to GUID?

So in trying to create an MBR partition of my hard drive which I could then use to boot a solaris-derivative OS using rEFIt, I messed up. Rather than a hard drive with a primary GUID partition map ...
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When is the GUID partition table (GPT) preferred over Apple partition map (APM) for external drives?

I have seagate external portable hard-drive 1 TB, and I will be using with following Mac's. 13" White MacBook (Intel Core 2 Duo) running Snow Leopard 13" MacBook Air (Intel Core i5) running Lion iMac ...