There are a number of programs that will allow for easy creation or resizing of drive partitions. Even Windows XP and Vista will let you do this in its disk management utility. However, these free options are not as easy to use as some of the commercial options, and they lack some fairly important features. Until recent times, I did not know of any free programs that would resize a partition and leave the data intact. Vista will do it now, but it is a bit of a challenge.
For many years I have been using Partition Magic as it was the only program that I could find that would resize partitions without losing data. This feature is very important when adding a partition to a computer that is running well. It could save you from needing to resinstall the whole system. Partition Magic is a commercial program which is hard to justify a purchase of, as you may only use it once or twice each year.
EaseUs Partition Manager Home Edition has been labelled a “free replacement for Partition Magic”, and rightly so. The interface is very similar to the popular Partition Magic, and it contains many of the same features.
- Disk resizing without data loss
- Disk and partition copying
- Setting partitions active or hidden
- Disk Labeling
- Easy to use interface
- Everything else most people could ever want
This tool is a long saught after tool for those who do a lot of partitioning. Now the job of trying out Linux, or installing XP on a factory installed Vista machine is a lot less daunting, and dare I say it – even enjoyable.
Important Update: Ensure you turn off hibernation and sleep modes before running this program. If it enters these modes while the program is running, you may find your computer is unbootable. Most other tools of this nature run in DOS mode where sleep or hibernate is not a feature, hence not a problem.
Partition Manager has a commercial version available for people who would like a few extra features, but the home version is free and does everything reported in this article. Grab your copy from Partition-Tool.
Linux has a lot to offer. There are a huge range of programs for the KDE desktop that are nicer than their Windows counterparts. There are also a tonne of tiny utilities that perform specialist tasks.
The Windows KDE project will let you run programs written for KDE on your Windows Desktop. Once all of the libraries and files are installed, you can run the programs as if they were designed for Windows. There is no virtual computer or emulator you need to load up.
The installer is very simple to use. You can select what you want the installer to download and install. The Windows KDE project comes with a wide range of games and utilities that will get you started. The Amarok music player was a highlight for me. Additional programs can be added, but you will need to compile them, or wait for updates.
The project is still fairly young and is still in alpha phase, so there may be some stability problems. I did not come across any in my playing around with it. It worked really well. This is a project that I predict will become hugely popular in the coming years.
The Windows KDE project currently works on XP, 2000, 2003, with Vista support on its way shortly.
Get your copy from the KDE on Windows website.
While Linux has come a long way, especially with the community support of Ubuntu, many tasks are still done by editing text files. These files are very sensitive to grammatical errors, requiring us to enter the data in perfectly for them to work.
The Linux community, especially the Ubuntu community has tried to make editing these files much easier by releasing a number of programs which do the editing for us. All we need to do is put the settings we want into a graphical interface.
GRUB, the standard boot loader for Ubuntu can be changed by editing a text file, which if edited incorrectly will cause Ubuntu & Windows to fail their boot up.
Download Startup manager and change the settings in it to suit your needs, all through an easy to use interface. One nice feature is the “Last used” option which will reboot the last operating system you had open, allowing for automatic updates and the like to do their thing.
Download it from the authors website. You will also find detailed installation instructions on the site. I really appreciate this application as I know the pain I have been through in past years, editing the file manually.
For added security, this program also lets you create a rescue floppy, which will save you all sorts of problems if things were to go wrong.
Ubuntu allows you to login automatically, saving you from entering your username and password each time you boot up Ubuntu. This is ideal for home situations, where security is not really as much of an issue as it may be in a workplace.
Select “Login Window”
In the “Security” tab, tick “Enable Automatic Login”
Use the pull-down menu to select which username you want to login as.
The next time you restart your computer, you will bypass the login screen allowing you to get straight into the Ubuntu goodness.