Subscriber Elise wrote this week about changing the layout of her hard drive — like a lot of people, she’s thinking about Windows 7 and wants to get an early start with the Release Candidate version from Microsoft:
I want to partition my hard drive so I can dual boot between XP and Windows 7. Is there a free software program, that doesn’t require a PHD to operate available?
I wrote back to Elise that I’m not aware of one. Well, that’s really an exaggeration, but they’re not for the faint of heart.
GPartEd (http://gparted.sourceforge.net/download.php) is designed to do partitioning and partition resizing, and it’s free. No, it doesn’t require a PhD, but it isn’t completely obvius either – you have to know and understand what you’re doing.
Also, resizing your existing partition to make free space and then creating a second partition for Windows 7 is just the start, if you’re trying to make them totally independent. Windows has a bad habit of installing parts of the new OS into the folders of the old OS, even if it’s on another partition.
You would also need a partition boot manager that HIDES the partition that is not the currently selected one.
Elise wrote back to me to say:
I’ve muddled through with Easuse and I’m up and running with both OS’. It was a learning curve but worth the effort.
Thanks again for a great Newsletter. And for responding to me.
I think Elise meant EASEUS Partition Master 3.5, which is a alternative to Partition Manager (and GPartEd, which I mentioned).
It supports Windows 2000/2003/XP/Vista/2008 server. The Home Edition is free, but limited to 32-bit operating systems. If you have 64-bit Windows, you would need the Professional version.