View Full Version : Non-destructive partitioning

3rd July 2007, 02:32 PM
I have a 320GB external HDD that has 4 partitions on it. I want to change it to 2 160GB partitions, and use one of them to do clone backups from my 160GB MB HDD. Is there software available that can do a non-destructive partition on this disk? According to Apple's Disk Utility, if I use that to adjust any partitions on the disk, everything on the entire disk will get wiped:

"Partitioning a disk will destroy all information on all of the volumes of the disk."

Great. So back in 1997 I could use MS's disk utilities in DOS to adjust partitions that would allow OTHER partitions on the disk to remain intact, but in OSX, you can't adjust even empty partitions without wiping the lot? What sort of shit is that?

If Apple have let me down, is there a 3rd party utility that can be used to adjust partitions in OSX without wiping the disk? Or even better, a utility that can do a non-destructive resize of partitions? (I don't expect a full non-destructive resize to be free, but would like to know if it exists.)

3rd July 2007, 02:45 PM
Is something like iPartition (http://www.coriolis-systems.com/iPartition.php) like what you're after?

3rd July 2007, 03:35 PM
That looks to be just the thing. Have you used it? Has anyone had experiences with iPartition? Are there any other options for non-destructive partitioning?

3rd July 2007, 05:47 PM
Ah 10.5 will (hopefully) have that in Disk Utility ;)

3rd July 2007, 05:57 PM
That looks to be just the thing. Have you used it? Has anyone had experiences with iPartition? Are there any other options for non-destructive partitioning?

No I haven't used it, but I did see a mate tinkering around with it.. I"ll ask him what he thought...

3rd July 2007, 06:07 PM
iPartition seems to be the best of its class, but it is not free.

As to why Macs haven't had dynamic partitioning, blame that on HFS.

Anyway, considering the price of HD space at the moment (A$99 for SATA or PATA 320GB Seagate or WD at MSY, for example) why not just get another drive, and use that for data-shuffling? It'd cost you just a little more than getting iPartition would, you double your storage space, and you get to re-shuffle your partitions as you see fit.


4th July 2007, 09:23 AM
There is some useful discussion of command line tools for this job. I recall some mention that there isn't a man page for them yet.

E.g. http://www.ffnn.nl/pages/articles/apple-mac-os-x/nondestructive-partitioning.php

30th August 2007, 10:33 AM
It looks as though Leopard will finally allow me to do what I wanted originally - change the partitioning without formatting the whole disk. Leopard is looking pretty damn good at the moment....


30th August 2007, 11:15 AM
Well they're doing it now (kinda) through bootcamp.

30th August 2007, 11:46 AM
I have a mate who has used iPartition on three Macs at least that I know of using OS10.2 through to 10.4 and he swears by it. He is always shuffling partitions and their sizes on different drives ( why I will never completly know , although I suspect it is because he can ) and has yet to lose any data. As always (with data anyway ) I am the eternal pessimist who expects that if anything can go wrong it will so backup , backup , backup before you give something like this a go. I used it once to repartition a small 40Gb drive and it seemed to do the job well.

30th August 2007, 11:47 AM

"diskutil" in the CLI can non-destructively partition on Intel.


30th August 2007, 01:03 PM
Well said, macdave.

The main functionality of Bootcamp is just a frontend for diskutil.
You can non-destructively partition via terminal without needing any 3rd part tools.

11th September 2007, 03:12 PM
Another app for partitioning on the fly is DiskStudio - a non destructive way of doing this and a great timesaver. Runs on UB and PPC. US$49 so it's not free but for someone whoe is a tech or does a fair bit of this sort of playing around with partitioning of HD's it would be invaluable. Min OS is 10.3.

As always backup first.

2nd November 2007, 03:18 PM
I recall that partitioning on the fly was going to be a lot easier with Leopard. Does anyone know if this is so? I couldn't find anything about it on Apple.

2nd November 2007, 03:38 PM
Partitioning is a lot easier in Leopard. All the functions that were in bootcamp are accessible through disk util now.

2nd November 2007, 03:44 PM
So there's full non-destructive partitioning of all volumes? What about the boot volume?

2nd November 2007, 04:08 PM
try Qparted - freeware. Allows resizing and creation/deletion of partitions. Google to get details. Worked for me on the Apple as well as my Linux box.