PowerQuest’s PartitionMagic software — long recognised as the best program for creating, resizing and generally working with hard-drive partitions — has always come with a warning that it might destroy data. I’ve been using this program for years, but a shipping copy of PartitionMagic 8.0 gave me my first major catastrophe. One of its new capabilities — resizing the clusters on an NTFS partition — rendered my Windows XP Professional PC unbootable. I recovered by booting from the XP CD-ROM and using Microsoft-provided tools, but this is an option you may not have if XP came loaded on your PC and you have no CD-ROM. (Note: the problem didn’t occur with XP Home on the PC.)
PartitionMagic is useful if you want the most efficient drive possible, prefer to keep your data completely separate from your programs, or need to boot multiple operating systems. Among version 8’s new features is a browser that gives you access to files on partitions you otherwise couldn’t get to — for instance, those on an NTFS partition if you’re using Windows 98 or Me (See here for a screenshot example. PartitionMagic 8.0 comes bundled with PowerQuest’s real-time backup program, DataKeeper. And you can now boot from the CD-ROM to load PartitionMagic 8.0 in emergencies.
Already have an older version of this program? Keep it. If you don’t own a partitioning application and want one, PartitionMagic 8.0 is worth considering — but I’d recommend that you take its backup warnings very seriously.
In brief: PartitionMagic 8.0
PartitionMagic isn’t perfect — you should still back up critical data before plunging in — but it has proved over many years to be the most reliable and user-friendly partition manager on the market. Version 8.0 adds backup software but little else of real value.
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