iPartition (34.95€) is an intriguing application. I have used it several times now and it has done a really good job.iPartition-icon.jpg

Personally I have tried a multitude of combinations regarding partitions on my Macs – hence the need for iPartition as I will explain later. I accept that partitioning loses ‘valuable’ disc space, and depending on what you store on the second partition it can limit some of the OS X features with respect to the ‘default’ Documents, Music, Movies folders. On the other hand I have certain data that takes up a lot of space, but that I don’t necessarily want to back up to an external drive.

Initially I set up two partitions on every Mac, a System and a Data partition. As an example on the PowerBook I split the 100GB drive 40/60. This was fine for a while, but as I added more applications, and used iMovie and iDVD more and more I was struggling with only 40GB (CS3 for example takes up 5GB).

To cut a long story short this is what I wanted to do with iPartition:

– on the PowerBook I wanted to remove the Data partition
– on the iMac I wanted to reduce the size of the Data partition, and
– on the Mac mini I wanted to remove the Data partition.

In addition I wanted to remove a third partition on an external drive, and then resize both of the remaining partitions.

First thing to stress is BACK UP. If you have never done this before now is a great time to start! My current favourite is Data Backup.

Second, be very clear as to how you want your disks partitioned, as although changing them is pretty straight forward, it really is best if you can avoid the need.

Third, I wouldn’t even attempt this without access to a second Mac that you can connect via Firewire to the Mac you want to amend.

How did it go? When it worked it worked fine, but I couldn’t do a few things that I wanted to. This was due to the limitations of OS X rather than iPartition as I understand it, but it did reduce the overall value of the exercise for me.

Removing a partition was easy. Having backed up the data from that partition is was a simple case of following the very clear steps to remove the partition. Very quick and very effective.

Resizing a partition is a different matter as it depends on how much space you have on the disc in total. I was disappointed that on the iMac I couldn’t reduce the size of the Data partition. In the end I removed the Data partition and then added a new partition. Slightly long winded but it worked out OK.

Deleting and resizing the partitions on the external drive was really easy.

One ‘restriction’ to be aware of is that it isn’t possible to make changes to the disk you have booted from. To make a change to the disk you boot from you need to either connect to the Mac through Target Disk mode from another Mac, or create a bootable CD..

In reality it will be easier to only have one partition on your Mac, and 90% of the people that I have spoken to about this only have the one partition. Do I? No! My Mac mini(s) and MacBook only have the one partition. Sands iMac has a 150GB System partition and a 100GB data partition. The System partition holds all her applications, our iTunes library, all our Photos, as well as all her documents. This is all backed up to the 150GB partition on her external drive. The 100GB Data partition holds movies that we have recorded. These aren’t backed up to the external drive as we feel that would be an expensive option in the long term. Any ‘must keep’ movies we burn to disc. The remaining 100GB partition on the external drive is used for a full back up of the MacBook. For me iPartition is a good application to have in my tool bag. It has some unavoidable limitations and complexities but it did the job I needed it to do and was easy to use.

iPartition Features

Repartition your disk without reformatting.

Resize HFS+ (Mac OS Extended) partitions, keeping data intact.

Intelligent partitioning means no need to manually reorganise your disk to make space to enlarge a
partition… iPartition will do it for you.

Works with all types of hard disk, even removables like Zip disks and external FireWire or USB disks.

Works with Apple and GUID partition schemes with the ability to convert between the two schemes.

Easily reorganise your disk to:

* Install other operating systems.
* Perform a rolling operating system upgrade.
* Separate data and applications.
* Limit disk space usage.

Comes with iDefrag Lite disk compaction tool.

iPartition won’t break bootable OS 9 partitions.

System Requirements:

Mac OS X 10.3.7 or later (including Tiger), 450MHz PowerPC or better or Intel Mac, 512MB RAM. Supports internal and external disks. To partition your boot disk, you will require an external disk or bootable CD (utility provided to create a bootable CD). iPartition cannot resize FAT or NTFS partitions.

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