Partitioning not just for Geeks
by Alan Zisman
(c) 2000. First
published in Toronto Computes,
Partition Magic 5.0
Approx. $65 (Professional version, approx $700)
For DOS, Windows 3, 95, 98, NT 4.0
Requires 16 MB RAM, 12-20 MB drive space
Partitioned your hard drive lately?
Well, probably not.
While it may sound like a geeky thing to do, changing
the way your hard
drive is divided up may be more worthwhile then it sounds at first
Among the scenarios:
-- your computer came with Windows 95 setup with FAT16
a maximum of 2 gig drive partitions. As a result, your hard drive has
partitions and you?d rather have just one, larger FAT32 partition
you?re running an operating system?Windows 95B or later, Windows 98, or
Windows 2000) that supports it. Windows 98 lets you convert an existing
FAT16 partition to FAT32, but can?t make any other changes.
-- you have a single large partition, but you?d prefer
to divide it
up into separate partitions for the operating system, your
and your data, for easier control and backup. Or you?d like different
for different users. My son Joey has his own 4 gig partition for his
songs, and the like?and is always complaining that he needs more space.
At least, if he makes a mess of it, he doesn?t affect my stuff.
-- you want to try out different operating
systems?Windows NT, Linux,
BeOS, or the like. In some cases, these can be installed and run from
same part of your hard drive as your current system, but it will make
a cleaner and safer installation if each operating system keeps to its
own partition. Trust me.
When it comes to partitioning, Windows 95 and 98 show
their DOS roots,
and rely on the old DOS FDISK utility. In a limited sort of way, it
use it to make any changes to your partitions, and the contents get
All you can do is format and start from scratch.
PowerQuest has come to the rescue of would-be hard
with its now-classic Partition Magic utility. Now up to version 5, the
program offers the ability to create, remove, and re-size partitions,
losing the data on them. It supports Windows FAT16 and FAT32
along with OS/2 HPFS, NT?s NTFS, and Linux Ext2 and Swap partitions,
can convert one to another.
The package includes a few other utilities, as well:
applications from one partition to another, updating the Windows
as needed?so the applications still work after the move. DriveMapper
drive-letter references after partitioning?so even though your CD-ROM
have gained a different drive letter, its programs will still work. And
BootMagic provides an attractive menuing system that lets you select
different operating systems at bootup.
New in version 5 is the ability to merge
partitions?even FAT and FAT32
partitions. New wizards simplify use of the program. As well, it?s the
only version with support for Windows 2000?s new NTFS 5 format, and
support for bigger than ever hard drives. The $700 Professional version
offers the owner use on an unlimited number of computers, and includes
scripting to automate setup of a large number of systems. A limited
of Partition Magic is bundled with several Linux versions, such as
and Storm, but the full version offers much more flexibility.
Not for everyone, perhaps. But if you want to make
to an existing system or try out multiple operating systems, it?s well
worth the investment.