April 03, 2004

Looking for Free Partition Magic? I just finished resizing my NTFS boot partition. It was 6GB in size (the whole disk), but I wanted 3GB of it for a Linux distribution called Knoppix. Knoppix is a Linux distro designed to run from a CD. It has tons of utilities and other Linuxy stuff on it. It works just fine from the CD, but it can certainly run faster if it runs off your hard drive. Well, to install Linux, you have to have a partition to install it to. What's a guy to do? First, I downloaded the demo version of Partition Magic. Of course, it was stripped of all functionality, short of buying it outright. Scratch that. Then, I booted up Knoppix 3.3 from an ISO I found on the 'net. In it, there is a tool called qtparted. This is a free tool just like Partition Magic, except it's GNU licensed, doesn't cost anything and runs under Linux. qtparted is actually a front-end for a series of tools in Linux. One of these tools is ntfsresize. Unfortunately, qtparted couldn't resize my partition because operating systems don't neatly use space all at the beginning of a partition, but spread stuff all over the place. The ntfstools installation that came with Koppix 3.3 is not the newest, and does not support automatic moving of data to make room for the partition resize.
Well, a good geek doesn't stop when he is thwarted. No, he uses Knoppix to download the ntfstools, compiles the package into the RAMdisk/Desktop, unmounts the hard drive, and uses the newly compiled ntfsresize to automatically resize the partition for him. Then, he loads up qtparted again to automatically handle the fdisking of the partition so that he doesn't royally screw up his hard drive due to a fat fingering of the partition data.

Walla, rebooted into Windows 2000, where it ran the diskcheck, and everything was hunky-dory. Don't spend your money on Partition Magic - get yourself a nice free Linux distro and the latest ntfs tools. It was relatively painless, and it worked great.......on a laptop no less!

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