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GParted 1.4: New version of live partition-manipulation tool

Non-destructively expand or shrink disk partitions while they still contain data

GNOME Partition Editor version 1.4 was released this week by lead maintainer Curtis Gedak.

GParted is a graphical dynamic partition management tool for Linux. In other words, it does useful things like non-destructively expand or shrink disk partitions while they contain data. It's not unfair to describe it as a FOSS recreation of the late lamented PartitionMagic.

It is a Gtk-based graphical wrapper around the GNU parted libraries, which do the critical filesystem-resizing part.

GParted not only puts a pretty graphical face on the parted command-line tools, but it adds worthwhile functionality of its own, too: creating both MBR and GPT partition tables and partitions, moving partitions, copying partitions (both on a single physical drive, and from drive to drive).

It can also check and, in some cases, repair multiple types of filesystem.

(The best tool for repairing NTFS remains Windows, but your humble vulture has seen disks that Windows scorns to even assign a drive letter – but which Linux could repair just enough for Windows to pick up the job and finish it.)

It can handle FAT, FAT32, exFAT, NTFS, Ext2/3/4, Btrfs, XFS, Apple HFS and HFS+, and others besides. It can handle disks encrypted with Linux's dm-crypt and LUKS tools. It's the partition editor in the Parted Magic live ISO, is also included on most distros' installation images, and it has its own live image, too – although at the time of writing, this has not yet been updated to include the new version.

The new version has several improvements, such as the ability to apply partition labels – that is, to set a name – on mounted Ext2/3/4, Btrfs, and XFS partitions. On disks with relatively complicated partition layouts, labels can be a lifesaver for a hassled sysadmin.

It also has improved support for the GNOME Orca screenreader, which will make life easier for blind users – for many of whom computers are an essential tool.

Although it only runs on Linux, this isn't just a Linux tool by any means. If you've not heard of it before, it's worth giving it a try. As an example, a GParted live disk is a quick, easy, and free way of doing a whole-drive image backup, and it's also handy when upgrading a machine from a hard disk to an SSD.

Copy the GParted live ISO onto a USB key formatted with Ventoy, alongside a Windows ISO downloaded from Microsoft.

Pick up a USB3-to-SATA cable for a few dollars (or euros or pounds) when you're buying the new SSD. Attach the new disk to the machine via the cable, boot off USB, and use GParted to copy the Windows partitions to the new drive. Switch the disks, use Windows' boot-sector repair function, and the job's done.

Of course, commercial tools to do this exist, but they cost as much as a small SSD. Why double the price of the exercise unnecessarily? ®

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