PowerQuest – PartitionMagic 5.0 review

manage hard drive partitions
Photo of PowerQuest – PartitionMagic 5.0
£49.95

Before reading this review, have a look at our review of a previous version of PartitionMagic, here, if you don’t already understand the concept of hard drive partitions and why manipulating them can be very useful. Happy? Right, now read on.

This latest incarnation of the PartitionMagic product incorporates additional user-friendliness and features. It works entirely from within Windows, so there’s no need to mess around in DOS or play with boot disks. Everything is controlled through a simple graphical interface that allows you to do some very powerful things with your hard drive partitions, including creating, deleting, resizing, moving and reformatting them. New to this latest version is the ability to merge partitions together – including FAT and FAT32 partitions – and extra conversion facilities exist between NTFS and FAT32. Partitions can also be changed from logical to primary status, which is pretty clever.

Although advanced users can tweak their partitions to their hearts’ content, the wizard has been improved in this version to lead you through the process depending on what you want to achieve (create a new partition, merge partitions, resize a partition and so on), so installing and trying out a new operating system becomes a relatively easy process. Operations can be queued too, allowing you to see what’s going to happen before you click the ‘do it’ button.

Included in the PartitionMagic box is DriveMapper and MagicMover, which are tools to allow applications to be used even when their associated drive letters have changed. BootMagic, the multi-OS boot manager, is also present, and is easily configured from within Windows, including the ability to assign passwords to particular menu items to keep away prying eyes.

Company: PowerQuest

Contact: 0118 975 5955


Verdict
PartitionMagic 5.0 now supports FAT16, FAT32, FAT32X, NTFS, HPFS and Linux ext2 partitions, and - given that messing around with partitions will always involve some element of risk - is the most user-friendly and seemingly reliable tool we've seen so far for partition management on the PC. Even so, this is not something we feel should be attempted by novices.