I’ve never gotten into a good grove when it comes maintenance of a hard drive. Usually this process involves me loading a LiveCD like Ubuntu, downloading the tools I needed (Gparted, shredder, Partiso…) and going through the slow proccess from there. On occasion when I have to do this process over I have to download all the tools again and it’s just not that much fun to try to remember where the package manager is and what the package names are. This is probably one of those cases where everyone has heard about it but me, but I just discovered Parted Magic and I’m… in… love.
Parted Magic is just a really well put together tool. It boots with a number of options in Grub (a nice feature [and the default] is that Parted Magic will load into RAM). The Grub menu also features SuperGrub which I’ve never tried before but am glad it’s there in case anything goes wrong. This is the first CD that I’ve booted to RAM (expect the Gentoo minimum install CD [which doesn't really count]) and the ability to take off the sludge of constantly churning, throughput-hogging CD drive is nice. Programs start in a snap and I feel that in my time I’m actually doing something instead of pretending I want another sip of coffee.
Parted Magic keeps it lightweight and uses the LXDE Desktop. I have never tried the LX Desktop Environment before but it is very responsive – something you can kinda forget about with modern desktops. Beside being fast, for the basic tasks I really didn’t find anything on LXDE I could not do on my KDE desktop. Thankfully too, Parted Magic keeps it lightweight by only including the needed programs so you won’t find yourself digging to find a program. Since I like to keep to the basics on my desktop (and trust me on KDE that isn’t an easy thing to do), I really appreciated this.
Parted Magic had all the tools I needed to be able to install a new hard drive. Since I wanted my old system on the new drive, I used Gparted to format it, then Clonezilla (yes, it’s included) to image it over. Afterwords, I resized the partitions with Gparted, then shredded the old drive with the Erase Disk utility. Other handy tools are also included like a mounting tool that makes mounting/unmounting quick and easy, TestDisk for possible repair of a damaged partition table, Photorec to recover Photos on a damaged drive, other cloning tools and believe it or not Firefox (which I think is a good idea in case you ever get in trouble). If you install on a USB stick you also have the ability to save the settings so they will be remembered on the next boot. This is really nice feature but must still be new as I found it would only work part of the time when the USB stick is loading.
Overall Parted Magic is a nice tool that I deperately needed. Thanks to Patrick who developed this tool and making my life in Linux alot more pleasant.