Are you in need of a great partitioner? Don’t want to spend lots of cash for the popular commercial products? The GParted LiveCD offers most of the features that the big boys do, and even some that they don’t. The key benefit? This is free.
I admit that I haven’t used GParted that extensively before, so I am a noob to the program myself. I rely usually on Fdisk which hasn’t failed me yet, but a GUI interface is going to make things much, much smoother. Or hopefully ;-)
Removing four Linux partitions, creating one NTFS:
In order to see how things are going to work, I am going to delete, remove, resize and create a few partitions in different scenarios. We will truly see just how well this will work! First up, I want to remove all Linux partitions entirely, and take the free space to create a fresh NTFS drive:
The entire opteration was quick…. it took no more than a minute, so that’s an impressive start. The real test is to boot back into Windows to see if it has picked up on it!
As you can see, it went perfect. That was really a painless operation.
Removing one NTFS, creating an ext2, ext3 and swap partition:
Again, a very simple process. Within minutes I was welcomed with this:
Now it’s ready to go for any new Linux installation. Of course, after installing a new Linux distro, this could come in even more handy to create seperate /home or /tmp directories as we mentioned earlier. Obviously, you cannot edit a partition you are currently using, which is why a LiveCD is a win/win.
After this process was over though, I found an odd ‘bug’. GParted would continually scan the disk for partitions, and wouldn’t stop until I took pulled the thumb drive from the port. This was strange, but plugging the thumb drive back in, I could easily mount it and copy snapshots over.
Resizing an NTFS & Linux partition, then adding a new ext3:
This is one step that didn’t exactly go according to plan, and perhaps I was overlooking something. After resizing one of the NTFS and ext3s, I had hoped to take the free space gained from them to create a new ext3. I was able to create a new ext3 from the previous ext3, but the free space from the NTFS just stayed there. In Partition Magic, there is an option to “Redistribute Free Space”, which usually takes care of this task. So, I just went on to create a new ext3 using the free space gained from the previous partition:
The process, like the rest, went without a hitch. The process was completed before I knew it.
Resizing primary NTFS partition and copy/pasting another to beginning of drive:
GParted is one of the few (if not the only) partition editor that has the ability to move partitions, so I was interested in checking it out. Though I had no need for it, what I wanted to do was resize the primary NTFS partition and take the remaining free space to copy/paste the entire secondary NTFS partition. As you can see by the diagram below, I actually moved the pasted partition to the beginning of the drive. Again, there is not much sense to this, but I wanted to see how well GParted would handle it.
Three hours later, and the operation is done! Granted, that is not a small task, but it did everything perfectly.
Once the process was done, I booted back into Windows and compared the two drives. They are exact.. byte for byte. Since this was the last test to be performed, I deleted all the new partitions and put things back as they were before I started. Once done, I was left with a clean system… you would never have known the constant partitioning abuse that the HDD suffered!
Though I found a few annoying bugs (that are in process of being addressed), this is a great CD that will always be in my toolbox. There are a few minor things I would have loved to see though, but this is just me being picky.
The first one listed might actually be possible, but after playing around with it for 15 minutes, I gave up. Regardless, this is a fantastic LiveCD that you would do good to have, regardless of whether you use Linux or not. I look forward to seeing what future versions bring. Kudos to the devs!
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