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Stable release
8.05 (Build 1371) / May 5, 2004; 16 years ago
Operating systemDOS, Microsoft Windows
TypePartition editor

PartitionMagic[1][2] is a utility software for hard disk drive partitioning originally made by PowerQuest, but subsequently owned by Symantec. As of December 8, 2009, the Symantec website stated that they no longer offer Partition Magic.

The program runs on pre-Vista Microsoft Windowsoperating systems including Windows 2000 and Windows XP, but the application is incompatible with Windows Vista and later versions (although Microsoft added resizing). In any of these cases, existing partitions can be resized without loss of data.


PartitionMagic 4.0 product materials, c. 1998

PartitionMagic is capable of resizing NTFS, FAT16 or FAT32 partitions without data loss, and can copy and move partitions, including to other disks. It also has various other features, including being able to convert between FAT16, FAT32 and NTFS, modify the cluster size of FAT16, FAT32 and NTFS filesystems, and merge adjacent FAT or NTFS filesystems (all without data loss, though some NTFS-only metadata is lost on conversion to FAT). Additionally, it had somewhat limited support for ext2 and ext3 partitions. PartitionMagic was the first commercial product of its kind containing patented technology.[3]

The first version of PartitionMagic was released with DOS and OS/2 support. Versions 2–3 were offered with DOS, OS/2 and Windows support. Symantec's PartitionMagic version 8 dropped the OS/2 version. Server versions were also offered under the name Server Magic for Windows and Novell NetWare servers.

The stable version of PartitionMagic 8.05 also included a rescue floppy disk with an additional DOS version of PartitionMagic. The DOS version (which included DR-DOS or MS-DOS) came on one 2.88 MB or two 1.44 MB floppy disks.[4][5]

The Windows version of PartitionMagic could also be integrated in BartPE (Bart's Preinstalled Environment) a Windows XP based Live CD created by using the PE Builder. To integrate PartitionMagic into BartPE a PE Builder plug-in for PartitionMagic was available.[6]


PowerQuest's Partition Magic originated in 1993;[7] Version 2.0 was available for purchase by January 1995.[8] An OS/2 version was available by September 1995.[9]

Version 3.02 came out early 1997.[10]

PartitionMagic, while under PowerQuest, was updated regularly, adding new features.

Once Symantec purchased the application in 2003,[11] there were no new releases, and Symantec stated that it had no plans on releasing a new version. As of October 13, 2011, the Symantec website stated, 'Sorry, we no longer offer Norton Partition Magic.'


A product named Partition Commander (from VCOM Products)[1] was not Partition Magic's only competitor.[2] There was also Paragon Partition Manager[1]

Compatibility issues[edit]

PartitionMagic is compatible with Windows NT, 95/98, ME, 2000, and XP desktop editions. However, it is not compatible with server editions of Windows NT, 2000, nor 2003 by design – a more expensive product from the same manufacturer, ServerMagic, would handle these – nor does it run on Windows Vista and later versions.

PartitionMagic 2.0.5, VolumeManager 7 and VolumeManager 8 cannot resize dynamic disks.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ abcJ. D. Biersdorfer (October 10, 2006). 'Rearranging Rooms on the Hard Drive'. The New York Times.
  2. ^ abBy J.D. Biersdorfer (May 8, 2003). 'Recarve a Hard Drive Without Losing Data'. The New York Times.
  3. ^'Patent #5675769'. U.S.Patent Office. Archived from the original on 2012-09-10.
  4. ^'To run PartitionMagic from rescue disk'. When you boot your computer from the first rescue disk, PQMAGIC automatically runs. You must insert the second rescue disk when prompted.
  5. ^'Partition Magic Rescue Disk creation'. April 8, 2011.
  6. ^http://www.911cd.net/forums//index.php?showtopic=24321
  7. ^'PartitionMagic'.
  8. ^'PartitionMagic: The Essential Hard-Disk Manager; Version2.0'.
  9. ^'PartitionMagic for OS/2'.
  10. ^'Partition Magic 3.02'. Computerworld. February 24, 1997.
  11. ^'Symantec to Acquire PowerQuest' (Press release). Symantec. 23 September 2003. Archived from the original on 11 November 2007. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  12. ^'Changing volume sizes on dynamic disks'. Tom's Hardware. 2005. Retrieved 7 July 2011.

External links[edit]

Retrieved from 'https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=PartitionMagic&oldid=1006871467'

By Mark Russinovich

Published: November 1, 2006

Note: NewSID has been retired and is no longer available fordownload. Please see Mark Russinovich’s blog post: NewSID Retirementand the Machine SID DuplicationMyth


Regarding SIDs, Microsoft does not support images that are preparedusing NewSID, we only support images that are prepared using SysPrep.Microsoft has not tested NewSID for all deployment cloning options.

For more information on Microsoft's official policy, please see thefollowing Knowledge Base article:


Many organizations use disk image cloning to perform mass rollouts ofWindows. This technique involves copying the disks of a fully installedand configured Windows computer onto the disk drives of other computers.These other computers effectively appear to have been through the sameinstall process, and are immediately available for use.

While this method saves hours of work and hassle over other rolloutapproaches, it has the major problem that every cloned system has anidentical Computer Security Identifier (SID). This fact compromisessecurity in Workgroup environments, and removable media security canalso be compromised in networks with multiple identical computer SIDs.

Demand from the Windows community has lead several companies to developprograms that can change a computer's SID after a system has beencloned. However, Symantec's SID Changer andSymantec's Ghost Walker areonly sold as part of each company's high-end product. Further, they bothrun from a DOS command prompt (Altiris' changer is similar toNewSID).

NewSID is a program we developed that changes a computer's SID. It isfree and is a Win32 program, meaning that it can easily be run onsystems that have been previously cloned.

Please read this entire article before you use this program.

Version Information:

  • Version 4.0 introduces support for Windows XP and .NET Server, awizard-style interface, allows you to specify the SID that you wantapplied, Registry compaction and also the option to rename acomputer (which results in a change of both NetBIOS and DNS names).
  • Version 3.02 corrects a bug where NewSid would not correctly copydefault values with invalid value types when renaming a key with anold SID to a new SID. NT actually makes use of such invalid valuesat certain times in the SAM. The symptom of this bug was errormessages reporting access denied when account information wasupdated by an authorized user.
  • Version 3.01 adds a work-around for an inaccessible Registry keythat is created by Microsoft Transaction Server. Without thework-around NewSID would quit prematurely.
  • Version 3.0 introduces a SID-sync feature that directs NewSID toobtain a SID to apply from another computer.
  • Version 2.0 has an automated-mode option, and let's you change thecomputer name as well.
  • Version 1.2 fixes a bug in that was introduced in 1.1 where somefile system security descriptors were not updated.
  • Version 1.1 corrects a relatively minor bug that affected onlycertain installations. It also has been updated to change SIDsassociated with the permission settings of file and printer shares.

Cloning and Alternate Rollout Methods

One of the most popular ways of performing mass Windows rollouts(typically hundreds of computers) in corporate environments is based onthe technique of disk cloning. A system administrator installs the baseoperating system and add-on software used in the company on a templatecomputer. After configuring the machine for operation in the companynetwork, automated disk or system duplication tools (such asSymantec'sGhost,PowerQuest'sImage Drive, andAltiris'RapiDeploy) are used to copy thetemplate computer's drives onto tens or hundreds of computers. Theseclones are then given final tweaks, such as the assignment of uniquenames, and then used by company employees.

Another popular way of rolling out is by using the Microsoft sysdiffutility (part of the Windows Resource Kit). This tool requires that thesystem administrator perform a full install (usually a scriptedunattended installation) on each computer, and then sysdiff automatesthe application of add-on software install images.

Because the installation is skipped, and because disk sector copying ismore efficient than file copying, a cloned-based rollout can save dozensof hours over a comparable sysdiff install. In addition, the systemadministrator does not have to learn how to use unattended install orsysdiff, or create and debug install scripts. This alone saves hoursof work.

The SID Duplication Problem

The problem with cloning is that it is only supported by Microsoft in avery limited sense. Microsoft has stated that cloning systems is onlysupported if it is done before the GUI portion of Windows Setup has beenreached. When the install reaches this point the computer is assigned aname and a unique computer SID. If a system is cloned after this stepthe cloned machines will all have identical computer SIDs. Note thatjust changing the computer name or adding the computer to a differentdomain does not change the computer SID. Changing the name or domainonly changes the domain SID if the computer was previously associatedwith a domain.

To understand the problem that cloning can cause, it is first necessaryto understand how individual local accounts on a computer are assignedSIDs. The SIDs of local accounts consist of the computer's SID and anappended RID (Relative Identifier). The RID starts at a fixed value, andis increased by one for each account created. This means that the secondaccount on one computer, for example, will be given the same RID as thesecond account on a clone. The result is that both accounts have thesame SID.

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Duplicate SIDs aren't an issue in a Domain-based environment sincedomain accounts have SID's based on the Domain SID. But, according toMicrosoft Knowledge Base article Q162001, 'Do Not Disk DuplicateInstalled Versions of Windows NT', in a Workgroup environment securityis based on local account SIDs. Thus, if two computers have users withthe same SID, the Workgroup will not be able to distinguish between theusers. All resources, including files and Registry keys, that one userhas access to, the other will as well.

Another instance where duplicate SIDs can cause problems is where thereis removable media formatted with NTFS, and local account securityattributes are applied to files and directories. If such a media ismoved to a different computer that has the same SID, then local accountsthat otherwise would not be able to access the files might be able to iftheir account IDs happened to match those in the security attributes.This is not be possible if computers have different SIDs.

An article Mark has written, entitled 'NT Rollout Options,' waspublished in the June issue of Windows NT Magazine. It discusses theduplicate SID issue in more detail, and presents Microsoft's officialstance on cloning. To see if you have a duplicate SID issue on yournetwork, usePsGetSidto display machine SIDs.


NewSID is a program we developed to change a computer's SID. It firstgenerates a random SID for the computer, and proceeds to updateinstances of the existing computer SID it finds in the Registry and infile security descriptors, replacing occurrences with the new SID.NewSID requires administrative privileges to run. It has twofunctions: changing the SID, and changing the computer name.

To use NewSID's auto-run option, specify '/a' on the command line. Youcan also direct it to automatically change the computer's name byincluding the new name after the '/a' switch. For example:

newsid /a [newname]

Would have NewSID run without prompting, change the computer name to'newname' and have it reboot the computer if everything goes okay.

Note: If the system on which you wish to run NewSID is runningIISAdmin you must stop the IISAdmin service before running NewSID. Usethis command to stop the IISAdmin service: net stop iisadmin /y

NewSID's SID-synchronizing feature that allows you to specify that,instead of randomly generating one, the new SID should be obtained froma different computer. This functionality makes it possible to move aBackup Domain Controller (BDC) to a new Domain, since a BDC'srelationship to a Domain is identified by it having the same computerSID as the other Domain Controllers (DCs). Simply choose the'Synchronize SID' button and enter the target computer's name. You musthave permissions to change the security settings of the targetcomputer's Registry keys, which typically means that you must be loggedin as a domain administrator to use this feature.

Note that when you run NewSID that the size of the Registry will grow,so make sure that the maximum Registry size will accommodate growth. Wehave found that this growth has no perceptible impact on systemperformance. The reason the Registry grows is that it becomes fragmentedas temporary security settings are applied by NewSID. When thesettings are removed the Registry is not compacted.

Important: Note that while we have thoroughly tested NewSID, youmust use it at your own risk. As with any software that changes file andRegistry settings, it is highly recommended that you completely back-upyour computer before running NewSID.

Moving a BDC

Here are the steps you should follow when you want to move a BDC fromone domain to another:

  1. Boot up the BDC you want to move and log in. Use NewSID tosynchronize the SID of the BDC with the PDC of the domain to whichyou wish to move the BDC.
  2. Reboot the system for which you changed the SID (the BDC). Since thedomain the BDC is now associated with already has an active PDC, itwill boot as a BDC in its new domain.
  3. The BDC will show up as a workstation in Server Manager, so use the'Add to Domain' button to add the BDC to its new domain. Be sure tospecify the BDC radio button when adding.

How it Works

NewSID starts by reading the existing computer SID. A computer's SIDis stored in the Registry's SECURITY hive underSECURITYSAMDomainsAccount. This key has a value named F and avalue named V. The V value is a binary value that has the computer SIDembedded within it at the end of its data. NewSID ensures that thisSID is in a standard format (3 32-bit subauthorities preceded by three32-bit authority fields).

Next, NewSID generates a new random SID for the computer. NewSID'sgeneration takes great pains to create a truly random 96-bit value,which replaces the 96-bits of the 3 subauthority values that make up acomputer SID.

Three phases to the computer SID replacement follow. In the first phase,the SECURITY and SAM Registry hives are scanned for occurrencesof the old computer SID in key values, as well as the names of the keys.When the SID is found in a value it is replaced with the new computerSID, and when the SID is found in a name, the key and its subkeys arecopied to a new subkey that has the same name except with the new SIDreplacing the old.

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The final two phases involve updating security descriptors. Registrykeys and NTFS files have security associated with them. Securitydescriptors consist of an entry that identifies which account owns theresource, which group is the primary group owner, an optional list ofentries that specify actions permitted by users or groups (known as theDiscretionary Access Control List - DACL), and an optional list ofentries that specify which actions performed by certain users or groupswill generate entries in the system Event Log (System Access ControlList - SACL). A user or a group is identified in these securitydescriptors with their SIDs, and as I stated earlier, local useraccounts (other than the built-in accounts such as Administrator, Guest,and so on) have their SIDs made up of the computer SID plus a RID.

The first part of security descriptor updates occurs on all NTFS filesystem files on the computer. Every security descriptor is scanned foroccurrences of the computer SID. When NewSID finds one, it replaces itwith the new computer SID.

The second part of security descriptor updates is performed on theRegistry. First, NewSID must make sure that it scans all hives, notjust those that are loaded. Every user account has a Registry hive thatis loaded as HKEY_CURRENT_USER when the user is logged in, butremains on disk in the user's profile directory when they are not.NewSID identifies the locations of all user hive locations byenumerating the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareMicrosoftWindowsNTCurrentVersionProfileList key, which points at the directoriesin which they are stored. It then loads them into the Registry usingRegLoadKey under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and scans the entire Registry,examining each security descriptor in search of the old computer SID.Updates are performed the same as for files, and when its done NewSIDunloads the user hives it loaded. As a final step NewSID scans theHKEY_USERS key, which contains the hive of the currently logged-inuser as well as the .Default hive. This is necessary because a hivecan't be loaded twice, so the logged-in user hive won't be loaded intoHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE when NewSID is loading other user hives.

Finally, NewSID must update the ProfileList subkeys to refer tothe new account SIDs. This step is necessary to have Windows NTcorrectly associate profiles with the user accounts after the accountSIDs are changed to reflect the new computer SID.

NewSID ensures that it can access and modify every file and Registrykey in the system by giving itself the following privileges: System,Backup, Restore and Take Ownership.

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