PowerQuest’s BootMagic and PartitionMagic: Making Hard Drive Partitions Easier to Manage
PowerQuest’s PartitionMagic has been around a long time, helping Windows and DOS users dynamically repartition their drives without worrying about backup-fdisk-format-restore procedures. PartitionMagic 4.0 is the latest release of this venerable tool and still targeted at Windows users, it does peripherally allow SCO UNIX users to add new partitions to their systems.
PartitionMagic understands FAT32 and FAT16 filesystems, as well as NTFS and HPFS. It can convert filesystems from one format to another. PartitionMagic gets by some of the limitations some versions of Windows and Windows NT imposes, such as FAT32 partitions larger than 8GB. Using PartitionMagic is simple: a Windows interface appears showing your existing hard drive partitions. To resize existing partitions, grab the boundaries with the mouse and simply drag them to the new sizes you want. PartitionMagic takes care of resetting the disk tables for you, and can create, delete, and format in any supported Windows format you wish. Of course, resizing a partition that is full of data can cause overwrite errors, so a little thought has to go into the process first. It is always best to run a defragmenting utility first as these tools move files to the start of a partition.
What good is this for SCO users? If you have a dual-boot system with DOS or Windows and SCO partitions sharing the same drive, you can add extra space for SCO quickly. Boot into Windows, reduce or remove the size of the Windows or DOS partitions, then go back to UNIX and use the extra space as another filesystem. During testing we reclaimed several gigabytes of unused Windows partition space on both IDE and SCSI drives with no problem. In theory PartitionMagic can resize UNIX partitions, too, but this should be avoided if the partition has any data in it. After resizing a UNIX partition you need to reformat the partition under UNIX.
The second part of the PartitionMagic tool is BootMagic. BootMagic displays a pop-up menu when you start your system and allows you to choose which operating system to load. This replaces the MBR on your hard drive, allowing much more flexibility. BootMagic supports Windows, Windows NT, DOS, Linux, UNIX, and OS/2. Each boot entry can have its own configuration of partitions on the disks to enable. Setting up several OSs on large capacity hard drives has never been easier, and BootMagic never failed to work properly in our tests. Together PartitionMagic and BootMagic make a utility set for dual-boot and multiple-boot systems that are hard to beat.