Parted Magic: Partition, Recover Data, and Erase Hard Drives

When we want to administer or manage hard drives, there are several ways to do it. From Windows, for example, we can resort to a partition manager that allows us to work with them. Same as from Linux or macOS. However, the correct and safest way to work with hard drives, either to make or erase partitions, to recover or erase data safely, is to do it from a Live system, loaded in memory, that hard drives are not in use, preventing an interruption from causing something to go wrong. And this is where Parted Magic comes in.

PartedMagic is a Linux distribution designed to start in Live mode, that is, from DVD or USB, without installing anything on the computer. And unlike other Linux distros, such as Ubuntu, it is not intended for everyday use. Its main purpose is to help us in all kinds of adjustments and configurations of our hard drives.

Parted Magic

This distro comes standard with everything you need to allow us to move, delete, restore and clone partitions. It also has tools to clone complete hard drives, recover deleted or missing files, and even erase all data from a hard drive or partition and prevent them from being recovered.

Parted Magic - Escritorio

Main features of Parted Magic

PartedMagic does not contribute anything really new, but rather takes several existing projects (such as a Linux distro, and all the applications) and joins them. In this way, users save having to download each program separately and can have an ideal all-in-one to work with all kinds of hard drives.

This distro is capable of detecting all kinds of internal and external drives, so we will be able to use it to format and erase external hard drives and USB sticks as well. Also, it is compatible with all kinds of file systems, such as ext2, ext3, ext4, fat16, fat32, hfs, hfs +, jfs, linux-swap, ntfs, reiserfs, reiser4 and xfs.

Nothing requires installation. All programs are already installed by default on the distro, so when you start it we can start using them without problems. And it also has network support, so we can connect to the Internet and navigate (from Firefox, which is also installed) in case we need any kind of support or help.

We can also find other generic programs installed by default, such as:

  • Audacious: music player.
  • Blueman Device Manager – Bluetooth device manager.
  • ClamTk Virus Scanner: antivirus.
  • CUPS: printer system.
  • Evince Document Viewer: document viewer.
  • Mirage Image Viewer: image viewer.
  • Leafpad: text editor.
  • TigerVNC: remote control software.
  • TrueCrypt: encryption software.

Manage partitions and disks

One of the main uses of this Linux distro is to help us with everything related to partitions. With it we can create new partitions, change the size of existing partitions, move partitions, delete them, format, etc. We will also be able to try to recover and repair damaged partitions without losing the data.

For this task, the main program that we are going to meet is GParted, one of the most popular partitions managers with graphical interface for Linux. We will also find other very useful tools for advanced users, such as cfdisk, fdisk, fixparts, gdisk, sfdisk and parted, all of them for terminal.

Parted Magic - GParted

Recover deleted data

Another very important use of this software is to allow us to recover data when something goes wrong. For this reason, the managers of Parted Magic have also chosen to include tools that help us to this end. One of the best and most popular is TestDisk (along with PhotoRec), which will allow us to recover individual files or complete partitions. If the partition table of the computer has been damaged, this is, without a doubt, the program that we should use to recover all the data in seconds.

Other tools included to help us recover data are ext3grep, extundelete, safecopy and Scrounge NTFS. In this way, we will be able to choose the one that we like the most, the one that seems the simplest or, simply, the one we want.

Parted Magic - TestDisk

Create images and clone disks and partitions

Another very common use of Parted Magic is to help us create an image of a hard drive. This image is a literal copy of the entire disk, or a partition, and will allow us, in case something goes wrong, we can directly restore the image to return it to its state. Very useful to save us, for example, having to reinstall Windows over and over again.

The main program for this task is CloneZilla. This totally free and open source software allows us to create disk images, clone them and everything we want. A must-have that should not be missing in any suite of tools of this type.

We can also find other included programs with similar purposes, such as partclone or partclone-utils.

Parted Magic - CloneZilla

Securely erase data

Parted Magic also comes with a series of very easy-to-use solutions to completely erase data from any hard drive. With them we will be able to overwrite the information stored on any drive, as well as perform a secure erase of all data, or clean the free space of the drives.

One of the most interesting tools at this point is Disk Eraser . This tool is very useful especially for cleaning SSD drives, since it is capable of detecting them and, instead of overwriting their information (which could damage them), it directly marks all cells as empty.

PartedMagic - Secure Eraser

Measure PC performance and stability

Finally, this distro can also help us measure the performance of our computer and know if it is stable or if something may be wrong. And for this it offers us the following tools:

  • Bonnie ++
  • IOzone
  • Hard Info
  • System Stability Tester
  • print
  • stress

Download Parted Magic

PartedMagic is not downloaded as a program as such, but as an ISO image, with all the complete distro, which we must burn to DVD or USB memory to boot any PC with it.

The latest version of this ISO image can be downloaded from the following link . However, as we can see, despite being all free software, it asks us to pay in order to download it, either through a single payment of $ 11 (which only gives us the right to have a specific version) or as a subscription of 39 dollars a year that gives us access to new versions for one year. But nothing for free.

Comprar PartedMagic

Many years ago, Parted Magic was a totally free distro. After all, they use free software to create a distro, software that is available to any user. And therefore, the decision to make it payment did not like the community. For this reason, this commercial project has been widely criticized in the forums, and today it continues to be so. However, we cannot deny that it is one of the most complete distros designed for this purpose. If you don’t mind paying, you can have an all-in-one toolkit that will allow you to do whatever you want with your hard drives and all your data.

Minimum requirements

In order to use this distro we do not have to meet particularly high requirements. We will need to have a 32-bit processor and 512 MB of RAM, although it is better to have 1 GB to be able to run it completely from RAM.

Parted Magic supports Secure Boot and can also be run on Mac systems.