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Parted Magic review

by Sukrit Dhandhania

Parted Magic is one of the best standalone partition management Linux solutions out there. Sukrit explains why…

This article is due to appear in issue 93 of Linux User & Developer magazine.Parted Magic review Subscribe and save more than 30% and receive our exclusive money back guarantee – click here to find out more.

Parted Magic is a compact and lightweight distribution of Linux to help you manage your disk. It is a live distribution that can run off a CD/DVD or a USB drive. It comes packed with several useful disk and partition management tools such as GParted and Clonezilla. Unlike a number of live distributions of Linux out there, Parted Magic has a pretty specialised approach to things.

Take a break from the dozens of Ubuntu-Linux-based Linux distributions. Parted Magic is a live CD distribution of Linux based on Slackware. It specialises in helping users to manage the partitions on their computer.

Parted Magic is currently at version 5.6 and ships with partitioning tools such as GParted, Clonezilla, Partimage, TestDisk, Truecrypt, G4L, SuperGrubDisk and so on. This distribution of Linux boots from the PXE and USB as well as CDs and DVDs. Parted Magic is quite compact, and currently comes in a 130MB download from here. The version reviewed is version 5.5.

Parted Magic review

As the name suggests, Parted Magic is primarily a live distribution of Linux for GParted. It can be used to partition a fresh disk, repair a broken partition table on a working computer, recover files from a broken computer, and repartition and format a working computer. GParted is a graphical open source tool that makes partitioning a breeze.

GParted displays your partitions in an easy-to-understand graphical interface. You can also click and drag partitions to resize them. Once you are done with tinkering with the partitions, save and apply the settings. Reboot the computer to get out of Parted Magic.

Parted Magic uses LXDE and X.Org for the graphical environment. The desktop includes a customisable panel, a digital clock and a Start button to access the main menu. A text-based menu is also available in case you prefer that option. LXDE (or Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment) is a lightweight and compact windowing environment. It is far more economical on the resources than say, KDE or GNOME.

Parted Magic review

One thing that we liked a lot was the choice of desktop icons. There’s a shortcut on the desktop for tools which you might most likely require in case of a disk emergency scenario. There’s an icon for the Partition Editor, one to mount devices, and so on. You can also access most of the tools from a command-line menu. This is great for people working from a remote location or if you have a graphics card that does not work with this distribution.

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    • travelinrob

      I agree that Parted Magic is a great tool. It is my first choice in recovering data from a corrupt OS and setting up drive partitions. Also, it includes PhotoRec, to recover deleted data. I had a client that accidentally deleted her images from a Sony camera card. I used every windows tool in UBCD4Win to no avail, but, Parted Magic and PhotoRec recovered all of them.

      The only awkward thing you need to do using Parted Magic is run the Network Utility (there’s a link on the desktop) to enable networking. You have to select ethernet DHCP or wireless DHCP and, in my experience, it doesn’t often have the wireless drivers.

    • alan

      As a desktop support tech, Parted Magic has been invaluable to me; I boot it off our PXE boot server on the workbench, it’s perfect for a number of routine tasks we have to deal with.

      In the past my biggest wish is that it had a more straightforward graphical way to mount disks and copy data to a network share that our non-Linux-admin techs could grok, but maybe now that pcmanfm has built-in gvfs that becomes a non-issue.

    • yochai

      I work at an IT co-op the US. We use parted magic EVERY DAY on literally every computer that comes into our shop — and trust me, that’s a lot of computers.
      We use it primarily for:
      1) SMART testing hard drives (always)
      2) mounting filesystems/data transfer (most of the time)
      3) hardware testing (most of the time)

      Sometimes I use it simply because of the excellent package choices — for example, I needed to remove a bad sector record from the MFT of an NTFS volume that I had imaged (sans the bad sectors) onto a new drive. fortunately the version of ntfsprogs that parted magic has is compiled with the option for doing so (ntfstruncate)! this saved me the hassle of recompiling ntfsprogs on any of our other machines here.

      I agree about the network part though. It’s easy enough to use, but a little wonky.

    • Patrick Verner

      I have wicd in testing now. If anybody is unhappy with the network in Parted Magic it might be worth the while to help us test.

    • Peter

      hi.. this parted magic linux is great… but even better is Hirens Boot CD…

      and here universal usb installer do everything just few clicks… -1-2-3/

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