Partition without Destruction

People are always looking for a cheaper alternative to PowerQuest's PartitionMagic or Paragon's Partition Commander. These hard drive utilities deliver non-destructive partitioning, which means they can resize the partitions on your hard drive without killing the data on the partitions. That's no mean feat.

 

And it's apparently not a cheap one: Both of these apps normally can be found online for about $50. That's a fair amount of change. Most often, if you don't have the application, you back up your data and run FDISK from DOS, or you use whatever Linux partition tool comes with your distro (DiskDruid, for example).

 

FDISK and DiskDruid both wipe those partitions, as does FIPS, a utility normally associated with Linux that runs over DOS. I've never used it, but I understand it can divide a partition in half without losing data. That's a nice start, but it's hardly as useful as PartitionMagic or Partition Commander, which can pretty much dice up a hard drive into most any combination of formats and sizes you can dream up.

 

Slashdot had a posting for TinyApps, an amazing site that collects "very small software for your PC." They promise that everything on the site fits on a 1.44MB floppy. On the utilities page, they offered up a couple of partitioning tools.

 

TinyApps calls Ranish's Partition Manager a "partition tool for experts and would-be experts." That's a pretty accurate call.

 

They also list Zelep Partition Resizer 1.3.4, a tiny program that weighs in at 97K. TinyApps calls it, "the first free program to resize and move partitions without data loss." It runs in DOS.

 

If you're going to use Partition Resizer, make sure you have version 1.3.4 or higher if you want to move non-FAT partitions such as "NTFS, Linux ext2fs, etc." If you use an earlier version, bad things might happen. (Zelep calls these bad things "indeterminate data loss." You figure it out.) It can move NTFS partitions, but it can't resize them.

 

Partition Resizer can't create or delete partitions, a la Partition Magic/Commander. You'll still need FDISK (or a Linux partition utility, and so on.) to create or delete partitions. For example, when you need to carve a 60GB hard drive into a 40 and a 20GB partition, you'll first resize the 60GB partition to a 40GB partition with Partition Resizer. Then you'll whip out your regular portioning tool to create a partition in your freshly created empty space on the hard drive.

 

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