Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
 Product Review 


Partition Magic 7
Chris Taylor

Have you have ever been faced with the requirement to re-arrange your partitions on a nice stable computer that has been running for quite a while – and therefore has lots of programs installed and lots of data? If so, you know what a daunting task this can be if you only have the tools Microsoft provides to accomplish the task. You will find all sorts of excuses why it doesn’t need to be done. All this so you can avoid starting over from scratch, blowing away your partitions (and of course the data), creating the new partitions, reformatting, reinstalling the operating system, and restoring from backups.

When it comes to re-arranging partitions simply for convenience, such as deciding to create a partition to keep data separated from the operating system, even the thought of the amount of work involved is too horrendous to even contemplate.

It doesn’t have to be like that. For years, PowerQuest has produced the program PartitionMagic whose sole purpose is to allow you to re-arrange your partitions on-the-fly, without endangering the operating system or the data. It permits you to turn a weekend (or longer) project into an operation that takes mere minutes.

I reviewed PartitionMagic 6 in January 2001. You can read that review at opcug.ca/public/reviews/partmag6.htm and I will try not to be too repetitive here. Let me just highlight some of the tasks PartitionMagic accomplishes smoothly and effortlessly and then I will detail the new features in version 7.

PartitionMagic deals with every common file system used on PCs these days – FAT16, FAT16x, FAT32, FAT32x, Linux Ext2, Linux swap, and NTFS. It can create any of these partition types and convert back and forth between FAT, FAT32 and NTFS formats. You can split FAT and FAT32 partitions, and you can merge FAT, FAT32, and NTFS partitions.

An included utility – DriveMapper – allows you to move applications to a different drive letter and adjust references in the registry, shortcuts, and .ini files so the programs continue to function.

Also included is BootMagic, which allows you to install many different operating systems on your computer and choose between them on boot up, using a nice graphical, mouse-able menu. BootMagic supports everything from DOS through Windows XP, Linux, BeOS, and more.

The list of new features in PartitionMagic is not long. The main ones are:

  • Support has been dropped for the OS/2 partition types HPFS and HPFS/386.
  • You now have the ability to merge NTFS partitions – version 6 could only merge FAT and FAT32 partitions.
  • Support for disk size has grown to 80GB.
  • You can now split partitions below the root folder.
  • PartitionMagic now supports external USB hard disks. This support is only available through the Windows interface, not if using the “rescue disks”.
  • Videos on the CD-ROM showing how to perform different operations. This is a really nifty idea and PowerQuest has also made them available on their web site at ttp://www.powerquest.com/support.  Select “PartitionMagic” from the     Demonstration Videos drop-down list, then click a movie title to play.

PartitionMagic's Windows interface provides a safe and easy way to manipulate partitions on the fly without destroying data

System requirements vary by OS. They start with a 486 with 32MB RAM on Windows 95 and go up to a Pentium 233 with 64MB RAM for Windows XP. Suffice it to say – if your computer is running anywhere close to decently, PartitionMagic can run on it!

You can download a demo version of PartitionMagic from the PowerQuest web site that lets you try out the user interface, but not make any changes to your disks.

If you already have a previous release of PartitionMagic, check the new features list to see if it is worth upgrading. If you don’t have a copy of PartitionMagic, rest assured that this program can make adjusting your partitions a painless process. Street prices around town seem to be about $95. You can purchase it through their user group program at www.ugr.com/order/ for US$35 plus US$10 shipping. 
                                                                             Use the order code UGEVAL01.


Bottom Line:

Partition Magic 7
$95 CAN (street price)
from PowerQuest
Web site: http://www.powerquest.com/support


Copyright and Usage
Ottawa Personal Computer Users' Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON  K2G 1S6

The opinions expressed in these reviews may not necessarily
represent the views of the OPCUG or its members.