* Prices may differ from that shown
Partition magic is a partitioning utility from a company called powerquest. The version I am reviewing here is version 6 although version 7 has come out. There is not much difference between these other than the price, £20 as opposed to £40, unless you have windows xp in which case I would definately recommend version 7 as version 6 has many compatability issues with it. This program lets you do almost anything you like where concerned with changing partitions. You can resize partitions, create new partions and merge partions all without having to format your hard disk and hence losing all the data on it. Most of these features can be done by windows while installing but you lose the contents of you hard disk. This may not sound very useful but there are certain applications where it is very useful to change partitions. 1. It is allways a good idea to keep windows on a seperate partition from all your data that way you can reinitialise the windows part of the hard disk without losing your data. 2. It can make your computer much faster by putting your swap file (virtual memory) on a seperate partion. This means that it will be much less defragmented if at all and hence much faster. 3. Seperate partitions for different people. This makes data easier to keep track of and reduces the block size on the disk. (Hence less wasted space by half filled blocks). This is a great program if you feel you need or want to partition your hard drive, which I would highly recommend as your can make your computer faster and more efficient, however this is not a good program for the amateur computer user and may not be worth £20 for some people.
Partition Magic 6 is the latest version of the premiere partitioning software for Windows. The newest version adds support for Windows ME and Windows 200; although v5 did let you work under those OSes, albeit with a warning that it may nor work correctly. Partitioning is not something to undertake lightly, but thankfully this product helps enormously. Unfortunately, partitioning your drive is not something you're going to want to do every week, and once the drive is partitioned this software may sit unused for a very long time. My only quibble, and it's a minor one, is the price. Fair enough it performs a very important function admirably; but over £50 for a package you'll use once, maybe twice, is a bit over the top. The price is the only thing stopping me giving this package a full 5 stars, which it truly deserves.
I first used Partition Magic 6.0 when I grew tired of the way my hard disk had been formatted by a well-meaning but ill-informed supplier into four partitions, split across C:, D:, E: and F:. I purchased this tool to reorganise the disk into two partitions - C: and D: - the first for Windows and the second for everything else. I could have repartitioned using Windows setup and lost everything on it, but reinstalling all my apps would have been too much like hard work. So, in came Partition Magic, and off it went to do its job. It was a nerve-wracking task to perform the repartition, mainly due to the rather unhelpful messages (and the lack of helpful ones!), and it was difficult to calculate how long it would take to do the job. In the end, it whirred away for over three hours (for 8GB), and I was left with a very tidy system with plenty of free space. I never expected it to do a perfect job of changing all drive references, and it would have been unreasonable to have done so. But it got the vast majority right, and the few that remained were quickly fixed, with the help of Norton System Check. Given that I had many applications on my E: partition, I'm not surprised the odd reference got missed. If you don't already know, it's always a good idea to keep 2 partitions. Give 1GB (or so) to Windows on C:, and install everything else on D: (the rest of the disk). That way, if your system comes a cropper (which happens all too often), you can reformat and reinstall C: and Windows, and your apps slot back in. It's good for performance too, and helps to prevent those nasty experiences when Windows gets low on(or, heaven forfend, runs out of) disc. For that reason alone, if your system is all bundled onto your C: drive, it's well worth looking at using Partition Magic to split it. It's best done when the machine's relatively fresh, so you can install all your applications onto D:. All
in all, a solid utility that can save a lot of headaches.