PartitionMagic 5.01: A Great Divide

PowerQuest Corp. PartitionMagic 5.01

$69 single-user / $249 for 10 nodes


In a Nutshell

Rating: 4 1/2 Penguins


* Lets you create, merge, resize, and delete partitions without data loss

* Fast, easy conversions among many filesystems

* Comes with BootMagic and DriveMapper


* Requires Windows

Reviews (PartitionMagic)
Nothing Up My Sleeve: PartitionMagic allows you to manipulate partitions easily without data loss.

System Requirements


* 486 DX


* 16 MB

* Additional required for FAT32 support or hard drives larger than 4 GB

Hard Drive Space

* 12 MB

* 8 MB additional for BootMagic

Operating System

*Windows 3x/95/98/NT 4.0 Workstation or DOS 5.0

It pays to be skeptical about products with “Magic” in the title, but PowerQuest Corporation’s latest version of PartitionMagic has earned the “M” word. It could even get by with “Magic” in all caps and a bang(!) at the end.

PM’s short description is that it lets you create, merge, resize, convert, and delete partitions without losing data; but the reality is a stunning savings of hours, days, hard drives, and fistfuls of hair. Though PartitionMagic runs in Windows and has wide applications, it’s a special help in setting up a multi-boot system with Linux and one or more other OSs. PM can create Linux Ext2 and Swap, Extended, and unformatted partitions, as well as FAT, FAT 32, HPFS, and NTFS ones. You can essentially put away FDISK, Druid, and other parochial partitioning tools and go United Nations from within PartitionMagic.

If you’ve already set up a dual-boot system and need to reallocate space or change file systems without losing data, PartitionMagic is the puppy of choice. Resizing the partitions on a Win 98/Red Hat Linux system that was already heavily configured — without losing data — was a breeze with PM.


It installed quickly and was extremely friendly, offering all the options in plain English, on simple and effective menus. Major operations are mirrored in wizards with removable, stylish icons. Each option explored has a context-sensitive “Hints” button that brings up needed information. Could PM do its magic without killing a few data bunnies? After a full backup, not one hare (cough) on the disk’s head was harmed.

PartitionMagic showed all the partitions on a 15 GB disk, with Linux and DOS/Windows readings listed politely in the same table. PartitionMagic converted a 2 GB C: drive from a FAT to a FAT32 filesystem in about two minutes, with all data intact. Under the FAT file system, there was a 2 GB limit per logical drive, but under FAT 32, this particular C: drive could now be resized up to 7.5 GB for Windows 98, with the rest kept for Linux. The resizing took only about 23 minutes, and the data (both in Linux and under Windows) behaved perfectly.

Mad with new-found power and saved time, I went crazy creating, merging, and deleting on the Linux half — even wiping out that side completely to try different Red Hat installs besides the unallocated space install used before.

Be forewarned: You can stomp your data if you want to. But PartitionMagic is pretty good with warnings — easily ignored — about things being set to anything non-standard or even just unusual.

Multiple OS Boots

PartitionMagic includes BootMagic, which makes inclusion and ordering of all OSs an easily configurable boot time menu.

Last, but not least, PM looks great on a little old 640 x 480 VGA display, so there’s no squinting necessary. Bottom Line: Some vendors of “Magic” products pull software out of something other than their hats, but PartitionMagic would make even Merlin proud.



Linux Magazine /
September 2000 / REVIEWS
PartitionMagic: A Great Divide

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