Simple Partitioning with Commander in Charge

Have youever set up a server, only to realize six months later that you made the systempartition too small? I’ve done it, and hated the thought of wiping out thesystem and doing a complete reinstall just to make larger sizes.

PartitionCommander 6.0 from V Communications does this so simply it defies the imaginationthat such a crucial task can be made this easy. The latest incarnation ofPartition Commander not only makes the task easy, but it also frees the mindfrom the thought of it going south when the situation occurs.

We testedthe product on several servers and operating systems -- two small PCs, onerunning Windows 98 and one SuSE Linux 7, a Windows NT Server 4.0 with ServicePack 4 (SP4), and a production SQL Server 7.0 with SP6a. The systems variedbetween Pentium 166 MHz and 32 MB of memory up to the Pentium III 733 MHz SQLServer with 100 GB of storage. The disks in use were as small as a 4 GBenhanced IDE up to the Fast ATA/100 Ultra DMA (UDMA) and SCSI-3 disks on theSQL Server platform. We did not have any Windows 2000 platforms available for thistest.

The productallows for varied installations, depending on the operating system. If you’vebeen around Windows NT servers long enough, you know that NT doesn’t allowdirect writes to the disk -- it controls disk writes itself. Windows 9x clientscan install the CD to its disk with Windows running. Using the product dependson the platform under test, but the book provided does a good job with this.

We firsttested the product on the Windows NT Server 4.0, which was the Pentium 166using 8 GB Western Digital disks. Booting from the provided floppy, the productrefused to change the partitions citing damaged or corrupted partitions. Werebooted the server, ran the Windows NT disk tools, and found nothing wrong.Running the same test on the second NT test server, the product ran fine fromthe floppy.

We next ranthe test from floppy on the production SQL Server. This server has a 15 GBMaxtor UDMA/66 7,200 rpm drive as the first disk and a Maxtor 45 GB 7,200 rpmUDMA/66 drive holding the SQL data repositories. When we created this server,we intentionally made the boot partition 2 GB in size thinking that the boxwould never exceed this size.

Thepartitions were created as follows: On the first physical disk, the C bootpartition was at 2 GB, extended partition was at 13 GB, and D drive at 13 GB.On the second physical disk, extended partition was 45 GB, E drive was at 18GB, and F drive at 27 GB.

To extendthe C partition, we first had to shrink the extended partition on the firstphysical drive, which shrank the D drive down by the desired 1 GB amount. Oncedone, we expanded the C partition up to 3 GB. The process took about 45 minutesto accomplish due to the volume of data on the server. Once done, we rebootedthe server to determine the success of the action. We were amazed that itworked correctly and that the NT disk administrator never knew the difference!The disk administrator never barked that the disk changed, nor did it offer torewrite the disk signatures.

We repeatedthis test sequence on other boxes, and it worked each time, except once when itfailed. Other tests make us think that some odd hardware, or possiblenoncompliant hardware, was causing this failure. Overall, we had good successwith Partition Commander.

We arepleased with this product and how it performs. If your disks have filled up,know that this product is very adept as spreading the wealth without causingdamage. But just as in other critical operations, it is still a good idea tobackup your data before doing this.

Partition Commander 6.0

VCommunications Inc., San Jose, Calif.



Price: Mail order purchases run about $40 peruser


+ Quick andeasy partition resizing

+ Works witha wide range of operating systems

+ Flexiblechanges


- Doesn’twork with some older disks

- Can’t runfrom CD