Great features and it's free!
By Red Squirrel
I will give a simple overview of the program and it's key features that make it stand out from other partition tools. In fact it has features that even non-free tools that I've tried don't have, such as the ability to edit the hard drive, in raw mode. Probably not something you want to do unless you know what you're doing, but it's great to know it's possible to do. Here is a screen shot of it in action:
Edit hard disk in raw mode (not recomended if you have no clue what you're doing, but it's fun anyway)
Also this is a great way to retrieve files that are unlinked from the file system, though it would not be easy to find and recognize unless they are text files. It's both in hex and ascii to make it easier to read since at some point it's more understandable to read the hex then the ascii. Ex: 00 is nothing, but it shows a . in ascii, but if you type a . you don't get 00 but rather 2E. So to "zero out" a section you'd want to type 00 in hex. I was actually able to edit a text file through the program, then go and open it in dos edit and see the changes. It's pretty neat to be able to raw edit the hard disk. Oh and best thing is, you can save sectors as files, so if you find stuff that you want, you can save it to a file and retrieve it. In this case you'd probably want to save it on a partition other then the one you are working on, if you are doing data recovery. But for actual data recovery I would recommend a program that will find the stuff for you but this is good too for emergencies. It's free, and free software to read the HDD in raw mode and restore stuff is not easy to find.
Stuff found from some system file that is "deleted". This drive actually got formatted many times and put various non-windows OSes on it between those formats
Another screen shot, this time in view mode instead of edit. Notice the save to file option... that can get really handy!
Another cool feature is the ability to create boot menus. You can even save a boot menu to a floppy so that you use the floppy to boot to different primary partitions. It would be sort of like a "key" to enter hidden partitions, though not a very secure one as any other tool could also do the same. But if you use a boot menu on the MBR (normal place to save it) you can password protect it, and easly edit the options for the menu. It's very straightforward. Here's a few screen shots of it in action.
Boot menu configuration.
This is how a boot menu would look like. (the [invalid] drives were not formatted)
Another option that I find great is the ability to do a surface scan on a partition AND unallocated space! The scan is very straightforward and appears to be faster then the scandisk one. Just for fun I put in a hard drive that I knew had bad clusters, and sure enough it did find the bad one. The cluster had already been "patched" but it did not recognize it, so it would be something nice to have. Unfortunatly though, when it's done it just goes back to the main menu without any type of report, so you can't really leave it on overnight and check after. This really not well thought of but oh well.
Disk surface scan with a bad sector, and note that it shows the exact location. Tried accessing that location and it crashed, so imagine what bad sectors can do within an operating system! This HDD should not be used for sensitive data.
If there's no bad sectors at least you do get a message. So if you do a scan over night and come back to nothing, you know there's bad sectors, but if there's that message then you're safe. Notice the nice grammar. :)
And obviously this program also has features to partition, though they are very simple like fdisk, so it's those extra options above that make it stand out. One option I would like to see though is that when you resize a partition, that it would automatically fix the data to fit in the new size. Instead it tells you to run a disk organizer. (defrag program I would guess) so for this reason I would not recommend this program to newbies since you could really screw things up... There also seems to be a bug that you can't make partitions bigger, only smaller. But we have to remember this is a program that is basically suppose to replace fdisk, and not Partition Magic, so compared to fdisk the options are rather nice.
Various partition options
You can change the partition ID to be the desired type. Must be formated using another tool such as linux format or dos format, depending on what type of partition you want.
Also you might have noticed that the spelling of this program is "all your base are belong to us" style. The author is not English so the translation is rather good to consider this. There's only a few instances where the gramar is very questionable.
You can obtain this program at: http://spfdisk.sourceforge.net just click on the English link.
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