Reinstalling and reconfiguring Windows NT servers after a system failure is a time-consuming task. PowerQuest's ServerMagic 3.0 lets you resize NT Server 4.0 systems' local hard disk partitions on the fly. The product also lets you run proactive maintenance and prevention programs to check your hard disk's health, run Resize/Move to resize a partition and move it to another location on the hard disk, retest bad sectors, and run PartitionInfo to get a detailed report about your hard disk. The online Help file includes information about how to run ServerMagic on a system that is running a boot utility (i.e., System Commander) or an antivirus program (i.e., Norton AntiVirus). The product supports FAT, NTFS, and High-Performance File System (HPFS) formatted disks under NT, but ServerMagic doesn't support software-based RAID systems. In addition to resizing and managing partitions, ServerMagic lets you copy a partition or hard disk to another location for fast backup and recovery and add, delete, and format partitions.
I installed ServerMagic on a Digital 3000 system running NT Server 4.0 with Service Pack 4 (SP4), 128MB of RAM, and a 4.3GB hard disk. I also installed a second 4GB hard disk that I hadn't partitioned or formatted. The system's primary hard disk included two 2GB partitions, and I formatted the boot partition as FAT and the other partition as NTFS. Installing ServerMagic was straightforward. When the installation completed, the software prompted me to follow a wizard to create ServerMagic 3.5" rescue disks. Rescue disks let you boot your system and perform typical functions—functionality that is helpful for fixing problems and making a copy of a system boot hard disk.
Clicking ServerMagic from the Start menu's Programs option takes you to the software's main menu. A drop-down menu at the top of the main-menu screen lets you move between local hard disks, as Screen 1 shows. The menu always lists the primary disk first, and you can resize any partition or copy all partitions except the primary partition. (You can't copy the primary partition because NT's open and locked files are running on it.) I right-clicked the primary partition, and the resulting options menu let me run NT Chkdsk, change the disk's label, change the drive letter, resize disk clusters, or retest the disk for bad sectors. Next, I selected Disk 2 from the drop-down menu, created two 1.9GB partitions, and formatted them as NTFS. I saved the changes and copied files from my boot disk to the first partition on the newly formatted second disk.
In addition to copying files and partitions, ServerMagic lets you make a copy of one of your server's local hard disks. If you're copying the server's boot disk, you have to boot the system off the ServerMagic rescue disks that you made during the product's installation. I wanted a backup copy of my system's 2GB boot disk, so I booted from the rescue disks, right-clicked the boot disk in the drop-down menu, and clicked Copy. The software prompted me to select the free space I wanted ServerMagic to copy the partition to. After I directed the software to the free space, I clicked OK, and the copy process took about 2 minutes. I used the same method to copy the hard disk's secondary partition. In less than 5 minutes, I had a copy of my server's primary disk.
ServerMagic lets you create backups of your data onto a different fixed or removable hard disk, resize partitions when you need more disk space on a partition, and run system tools such as Chkdsk. Although NT offers similar tools and functionality, I highly recommend investing in ServerMagic. The software's single console of disk-partitioning and formatting tools is easy to use and saves time. You can download an evaluation copy of ServerMagic from PowerQuest's Web site.
| Contact:PowerQuest * 801-226-8977 |
System Requirements: Pentium-based system, Windows NT Server 4.0 with Service Pack 3 or later, 32MB of RAM, 15MB of hard disk space