Honey, I Shrank the Partition!

Luis de la Rosa asked in a comment to this post about my experience resizing partitions.

Before Monday, my experience was nil. The Mac traditionally hasn’t had utilities that can resize partitions, and OS X especially has had none.

That’s changed. Now, there’s VolumeWorks ($59.95) from SubRosaSoft and iPartition ($44.95) from Coriolis Systems.

iPartition is cheaper: is it better? VersionTracker says so, 4 stars versus 3 stars. I decided to buy it and try it.

First of all, it doesn’t come with a bootable CD. The Web site directs you to BootCD by CharlesSoft, but that is not compatible with Mac OS X 10.4.

I got around this problem by attaching my laptop to my tower via a firewire cable and booting the laptop into target mode, so the partitions showed up in the Finder on the tower. iPartition can resize the partitions of a drive connected via FireWire just fine.

First, I copied the entire contents of all the laptop’s partitions to my tower. I used cp from the command line: on 10.4, cp will also copy resource forks.

I also used Apple’s Disk Utility application to make sure all the laptop partitions were OK.

I used the bundled program iDefrag Lite to compact the used bytes of my data partition, then used iPartition to shave 15 Gb. off of it and distribute them to the three system partitions. The UI for this in iPartition is especially nice: you drag the sides of brightly-colored pie wedges representing the partitions on disk to make them bigger or smaller. A selected “slice” is half-removed from the pie, so it’s easier to see and manipulate.

All the steps together took maybe 8-9 hours.

I rebooted the laptop, and haven’t had any problems yet.