PartedMagic: An Open Source Alternative for Partition Editing: Page 2

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From the menu, you can also choose from about a dozen other tools. These include a calculator that can help you as you figure the size of partitions, a partition image creator that you can back up to a USB device, and a script for creating a bootable USB device.

However, the basic tool is Gparted, which is placed on the left side of the icons, where you will encounter it first. Before using it, you may want to use the partition image creator to backup your data to a USB device since. Although partition editing is generally safe, accidents can occur if your power supply is interrupted.

Gparted is a near duplicate of PartitionMagic's main window, both in appearance and functionality. At the top right is a listing of available hard drives. Below that is a graphical representation of the hard drive, followed by a detail view that gives its size and format.

Gparted supports an even greater variety of filesystems than PartitionMagic, including not only the common Windows formats, such as FAT16, FAT32, and NTFS and the common GNU/Linux formats, such as Ext2, Ext 3 and Linux swap, but also the Mac's hfs and hfs+, and advanced journalling formats such as JFS, XFS, ReiserFS and Reiser4.

Probably, you should not choose one of the more exotic choices without looking them up on the Internet, but if you select GParted -> Show Features, you can see what operations Gparted can do with each. Gparted cannot, for example, grow or shrink Reiser4-formatted partitions, nor shrink XFS-formatted ones.

To work with a partition, select it in either the graphical or detailed view, and right-click for a menu of operations that you can perform. You should start by running a check on the partition to see if it has any problems that might interfere with your plans. If you run into a problem, you can use the online help or the Internet connection to learn what command line tools can help you correct it before you try to edit the partition.

You might also want to use Partition -> Label to add labels to selected partitions to minimize confusion, especially if you are unfamiliar with how GNU/Linux system names partitions. Usually, you can identify Windows partitions by their size or their NTFS format, although you should be sure you are oriented before you start editing.

After you have taken these precautions, you are free to create new partitions, and delete, move or resize most existing ones. You might, for example, want to shrink your Windows partition to give you enough room for an Ext3 and swap partition to which to install Ubuntu. Or possibly you need more room on your Fedora partition, so you want to shrink your Windows partition and enlarge the Fedora partition.

As you make choices, you will see the number of operations pending listed at the bottom left of the editing window. Your changes, though, will only take effect once you select Edit -> Apply All Operations. If you make a mistake, you can undo the previous operation, or clear all of them. Once you select Apply All Operations, you can wait anywhere from two minutes to several hours, depending on the sizes of the partitions that you are altering and the number of changes you are making.

When you are finished, you can log out of PartedMagic and enjoy the changes you made, either installing another operating system or taking advantage of the extra space you have gained. In a Windows system, you may want to defragment all the partitions you have edited to improve performance.

Why Go Proprietary?

PartedMagic's desktop and use of GNU/Linux partition names may be initially confusing for Windows users. However, these problems are easily overcome, and PartedMagic remains one of the best tools in its category, not only equaling proprietary rivals, but, in its selection of tools and support for multiple partition formats, far exceeding them. It’s another of the growing number of examples of how free and open source tools are overtaking commercial ones, and I would recommend it not only to GNU/Linux users, but to Windows users as well.


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Tags: Linux, Windows, server, networking, partion


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