Pros Partitioning management both within Windows and outside, bundled boot manager
Cons Gives you the power to kill everything you love with one click, assumes you still use floppies
Summary I'll review the software in and of itself in a moment. But, first, here's a word of caution.
As you might have guessed, I've killed off my hard drive. I didn't lose its data, just its boot-ability. Specifically, I started with a dual boot configuration, XP (on NTFS) and Linux, with a pre-existing boot manager. BootMagic required a FAT32 partition, so I created one, but in order to do so, I deleted my Linux partitions, with the idea of rebuilding fresh ones. Unfortunately, the boot manager went with it, and the NTFS partition was moved, so it's no longer bootable. (Thankfully, I have a second hard drive with a fresh install of XP already on it, with the idea of using the old partition as a backup in case Vista couldn't run one or more important programs. I can boot there, and that copy of XP sees the other NTFS partition. So, even if I weren't paranoid about backup, I'd still just be out reinstalling everything--twice, since I'm also doing a fresh Vista install, once I get my two drives sorted out.)
PartitionMagic did its job just fine, but, it does not deliver quite on its promise to make drive partitioning as user-friendly--it gave no advice or warnings about pre-existing boot managers, or at least didn't put such warnings in a place where I'd see it. It did give the obvious "back up everything."
The program handles reading, writing, and resizing + or - all the standard partition formats--the FATs, NTFS, and Ext3, as well as Linux swap partitions. I have yet to see how it handles Vista Ultimate's bitlocker encryption, though given its lack of willingness to share partition management with others, my predictions are pessimistic.
Note that when first installing it, it gives you the opportunity to create rescue disks in the event that you lose the ability to boot up. But, it only does this with floppy disks, not with USB flash drives or other present day technology. The software itself is a bit dated and due for an update, and I would remind Symantec that the majority of new computers do not have floppy drives any more.Updated
A quick update to those following my saga. After booting into my newly created second XP partition, I had to wait for two hours, while XP found itself and put back all the files in their regular places against a blue "x% progress" screen. (Not a Blue Screen of Death, but rather the light and dark blue screen of life.) Funny thing is, afterwards, my new XP partition didn't boot any more--not that I needed it to.
Right now, I've unplugged the hard drive with the mysteriously repaired old XP partition, and for that matter the BootMagic partition, so my computer only sees the drive with the new XP partition. Because upgrade versions of Vista do not even bother asking for an old CD, but instead looks for an installed and running XP, I had to re-reinstall XP over the course of a half-hour, only as a sacrificial lamb to the alter of Windows Vista Ultimate Edition, 64 bit edition. I'm in Vista now (see my review of Vista). Once everything is running, after I've migrated day to day activity to the Vista partition, I'm considering then reinstalling XP on the other drive, but using the BIOS rather than Boot Magic to select drives. (I can then put a version of Linux on another partition of the XP drive, and pick boot OSes manually.) PartitionMagic is still useful to me as a way of resizing and formatting partitions, but BootMagic might not be any easier or more reliable than manually picking boot options.Updated
Latest update. I've got Vista up and running, and I tried installing PartitionMagic in Vista, but it won't run--it's not compatable. Looks like this program desperately is in need of a version 9.0!
I'll have to boot back into XP just to finish doing my partition formatting.
Pros There are none.
Cons Could not merge drives partitoned with this product. Tech support was terrible! Go with Acronis Disk Director--solved the problem crated by Partition Magic.
Pros Worked perfect
Cons Had seen nothing in the documentation before I purchased it that it did not support certain drive configurations like mirror and stripping and just supports basic disk?s
Summary Had to resize 3 partitions including one with the OS and everything went great! But be careful when using if you are not familiar or comfortable with partitioning drives you can loss everything! Backup is important.
The only thing that irritated me a bit was after purchasing was basically it only supports anything with basic disk and nothing with dynamic and this is fine most machines are using basic anyway. But I feel something this critical should be included in the basic description right underneath what OS?s it supports.
Pros I have nothing positive to say about this product as I could not get it to run.
Cons After install on a Vista 64 bit system NPM 8 detected errors with my disk size. After 'correcting' three allocation table size errors, my system crashed. I had to reboot, safe mode, system restore, and uninstall NPM 8. Never again.
Pros The old 7.01 was the best i ever had. Couldn't do any wrong, because it would let you.
Cons The Ver. 8.0 is dog doo doo for Vista, Per thier web site, just download the .ISO file and it works on VIsta. Now that i rebuild my machine, I would like to Warn everyone with Vista to stay away, Far away.
Summary This should have stay with the old compnay, Powerquest. They had the right ideas building this software.
Again, Stay away from Magic 8.0 version with Vista.