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Read the Manual
As with any powerful utility software, you'll want to read the manual.

PowerQuest's documentation is excellent, and contains important information for using PartitionMagic in conjunction with other utility software such as Norton, hard drive "overlay" drivers, alternate file systems, and more.

Although PartitionMagic operates "on the fly" and performs its operations non-destructively, it's still a good idea to back up your hard drive before using the software.


PowerQuest PartitionMagic
Simple software for advanced system maintenance.

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Partition Magic 8 is out, but unless you need the higher drive capacity (up to 160 GB vs 80 for V7) we'd recommend picking up version 7 while you can.  Partition Magic 8 has an "activation" sequence similar to Windows XP, and although we can sympathize with PowerQuest's desire to protect their product against misuse, you need this kind of software when you need it.  Activation locking easily could interfere with that.  On the other hand, version eight is more useful for advanced partitioning, and continues to evolve into a viable backup solution, so if you already have v7, 8 could be a useful upgrade.

PowerQuest PartitionMagic 7.0
Indispensable utility for partition management.

Partition Magic 7.0 now available from links on this page.  Partition Magic 6 reviewed.

If you're familiar with the antique DOS command FDISK, you'll appreciate the ease and convenience this powerful utility brings to what's normally a major operation- partitioning a hard drive into several logical units.

If not, you'll appreciate it even more.

PartitionMagic 6.0 lives up to its name, enabling you to accomplish the impossible as easily as working with folders on your system.  From its easy, intuitive Windows interface you can create, resize, move, split, and merge partitions on your hard drive.

All that's pretty cool, but here's the magic part: it makes these basic changes to the structure of your drive without damage to the data.  If you know what's involved, that's hard to believe.  Nonetheless, it does exactly what it claims- and each new version just gets better.

The program is particularly useful when adding or replacing physical drives, with the capacity to copy a partition from one physical drive to another, change the order of partitions, and more.

More about adding or replacing a hard drive...

Included auxiliary programs allow moving applications from one logical drive to another, as well as dealing with unwanted effects of changing drive letters, an otherwise vexing by-product of partitioning.

You can even use it to create alternative operating environments for your system, ideal for a "serious" computer that doubles as a game machine.

We've been using this software on various machines through several versions, and all you really need to know about it is it works. PartitionMagic 6.0 receives our highest recommendation.

More about PowerQuest PartitionMagic

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About hard drive partitions...

A hard drive partition masquerades to your operating system as a distinct and separate hard drive.  Although there's just a single physical hard drive attached, the computer sees a new hard drive installed for each new partition.  These are called logical drives, and they only exist deep in the interface between your hardware and system software.

Single physical hard drive (30 GB):

Drive C: 30 Gigabytes

Divided into three partitions: 10 GB 10 GB 10 GB
Your computer sees:

Drive C:
10 Gigabytes

Drive D:
10 Gigabytes
Drive E:
10 Gigabytes

This isn't even a Windows thing.  It happens down below the DOS level, and the only "built in" way you have to get at it is FDISK and FORMAT from a DOS floppy boot, then reinstall everything that was on the hard drive, or restore it from a backup.

PartitionMagic 6.0 provides a Windows interface and a high degree of automation to this otherwise daunting task.  Even better, it facilitates manipulation of existing disk partitions non-destructively, and performs migration tasks when adding or changing drive letters.

Why use partitions and logical drives...

Reasons for partitioning a large hard drive into smaller logical units are the same as they've always been: to organize applications and data, isolate the operating system, and facilitate practical backups of the entire operating system.

The sometimes crippling incompatibilities between computer games and applications software makes partitioning still more attractive.  With PartitionMagic 6.0 you can set aside a portion of your hard drive just for games.  Choose that partition when you boot and nothing else exists.  It's as though you actually removed one hard drive, the one set up with Windows and all your applications, and installed another- one whose system settings have been tweaked to play your current favorite.

Particularly with today's high capacity drives, partitioning makes a lot of sense.  For us, the most important aspect is damage control.  With multiple logical drives, drive errors are confined to just a portion of your disk.  With a modular backup system in place, repair and recovery is faster and easier.

A side benefit is increased performance- partitioning creates a lower level master index to your hard drive's contents, speeding disk access times.  With a judicious distribution of application software and data files, scandisk and defragmentation are much quicker processes.

For an increased level of control and flexibility on your system, PartitionMagic is an excellent investment.  We've been using it since 1995, and never lost a scrap of data.  With support for drives over 20 GB, PartitionMagic 6 is an indispensable utility for serious computer users.

More about PowerQuest PartitionMagic

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Direct Connect: PartitionMagic 7.0


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