Because Microsoft has begun using NTFS partitions for preloads, people
coming to the Linux community for help creating a dual-boot
Linux/Microsoft setup have a new challenge. Traditional
"non-destructive" partitioners don't work:

FIPS, GNU Parted, DiskDrake, Ranish Partition Manager, Partition
Resizer, PartitionIt Extra Strength -- all are FAT-only (no NTFS).

Worsening this problem is omission of genuine reinstallation disks
for MS-Windows & bundled apps from current OEM preloads: The provided
"recovery disks" wipe out your hard drive completely and reallocate the
entire drive to NTFS.[1]

We've found three classes of solutions:

1. NTFS-resizing software:

Open source:
o The ntfs-progs utilities collection from Anton Altaparmakov's
Linux NTFS Utilities effort,
includes "ntfsresize", similar to FIPS. ntfsresize is now
(2003-02) stable release code! Source code available at, or get author Szabolcs Szakacsits's
static binary, FAQ, and HTML manpage here: Source code
snapshots: Defragment your
NTFS volume before use. ntfsresize is included in Linux-Mandrake
(used by DiskDrake), SuSE 8.2's rescue system, and Knoppix (w/QTParted).
o QTParted by Vanni Brutto is a graphical Partition Magic clone that
incorporates ntfsresize.

Proprietary/retail-only, may not be lawfully redistributed:
o PowerQuest Corp.'s Partition Magic 7: $80, retail / pay first, and
server versions of Windows require the $600 "enterprise" version.
o Paragon Software's Partition Manager: $40, retail / pay first
o Acronis PartitionExpert: $45, trial version avail., but it's crippled.
Probably the most-mature option (released 2001-05-28).
o V-Communications's System Commander 7 / Partition Commander 6:
$70, retail / pay first
o Xandros Desktop OS Deluxe Edition's installer[2]: $100, retail / pay first

o TeraByte Unlimited's BootIt Next Gen.: $34.95 "shareware", 30 day trial . Also reportedly on
Simtel sites. Also on my machine,
as . Included is a diskette image. You make the
image, then boot it. (Decline its offer to "install".) Freely
redistributable by individuals who don't charge.
o ASPLinux distribution installer's ASPDiskManager utility, which is
Acronis OS Selector (predecessor to PartitionExpert) under licence:
downloadable CD#1 image, (many mirrors)
Disk image is freely redistributable.

2. Partition-imaging software with NTFS support (i.e., understands
NTFS file semantics, and thus can reduce an image's size):

o Symantec/Norton Ghost: proprietary/retail-only

The idea is to back up the partition image to elsewhere (e.g. a
Linux server), blow away the original, and copy the partition back
_smaller_. Symantec seems to require that you NOT have NTFS
compression enabled, and that you defragment the NTFS partition:

2 a). NTFS Defragmenters:
o Symantec/Norton System Works's Speed Disk: proprietary/retail-only
o Raxco Software, Inc.'s PerfectDisk NT: proprietary/retail-only
o Paragon Software's Partition Manager: proprietary/retail-only
o System Internals's PageDefrag: proprietary/retail-only
o Defragmenters included in MS-Windows XP Professional only:
o Disk Defragmenter (snap-in)
o Defrag.exe (command-line)
o MS-Windows 2000 also included a limited version of Diskeeper under licence.
o Executive Software's Diskeeper: proprietary/retail-only
o Executive Software's Diskeeper Lite 7.0: proprietary / gratis
download, (11 MB) labelled "freeware".
o O&O Software's Defrag V4: proprietary, 30-day trial

3. Advise the machine's owner to add a second hard drive and load
Linux there, to finesse the need to deal with NTFS resizing.

Setting up NTFS volumes in MS-Windows 2000 and later as "dynamic
volumes" AKA "dynamic disks" as opposed to "basic" ones may be a problem
for _some_ Linux distribution installers, but (e.g.) Linux-Mandrake's
will recognise them. On the other hand, enabling MS-Windows 2000 or
XP's "Encrypting File System" option or NTFS compression is NOT a
problem, as these features are implemented at the file level.

Andrew Clausen's suggestion of using Partimage (
to make a filesytem image and write it back with reduced size is
reportedly unworkable, as Partimage doesn't understand NTFS semantics

[1] One way to fool the installer program of MS-Windows XP "recovery
disks" into _not_ blowing away your partitioned hard drive's contents:

[2] Xandros Desktop OS Deluxe Edition includes PQDisk, a scriptable
version of PowerQuest's Partition Magic. Xandros Desktop Standard
Edition doesn't have it. PQDisk is reported to fail on some NTFS filesystems.

Supporting discussion from various mailing lists follows:

Subject: [TAG] 2 cent tip: Resizing NTFS (was: please clear my doubts)
User-Agent: Mutt/1.4i
From: Rick Moen
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 21:13:40 -0700

+-+ You've asked a question of The Answer Gang, so you've been sent the
+-+ reply directly as a courtesy. The TAG list has also been copied.
+-+ Please send all replies to so that
+-+ we can help our other readers by publishing the exchange in our monthly
+-+ web magazine Linux Gazette,
Quoting Heather Stern (

> The usual way is to clear some space for it (Partition Magic, parted,
> or FIPS are most commonly used) and then install Linux in the empty
> space. For Redhat to be the installed flavor you'd need to do this.
> With some other flavors of Linux (Slackware's "bigslack" for example)
> you would need to set aside some space, but you wouldn't need to adjust
> the partition types first.

The Linux community has, for a decade, been in the habit of using
reliable open-source tools such as FIPS, GNU Parted, and Disk Drake --
or the leading proprietary tool, the US $80 Partition Magic -- to
resize newcomers' MS-Windows partitions, to make room for Linux ones.
Typically, the machine-owner seeking our help doesn't have current
data backups and would be daunted by the prospect of needing to
reinstall MS-Windows, all his applications, and his data even if he
had such backups. So, tools that can resize MS-Windows partitions
in-place without file loss have always been an attractive solution.

This approach worked OK as long as Microsoft Corporation's OEM preloads
used the well-documented FAT filesystem (partition) type. Even so,
the first sign of trouble appeared a couple of years ago, when Microsoft
ceased shipping genuine OS installation media with OEM preloads:
Instead, they included only a "Windows recovery disk" that, if booted,
wipes the system's entire hard drive, then recreates the original
as-shipped partition table, and then reloads the bundled Microsoft OS
and bundled applications onto the reformatted hard drive. Of course,
using this "recovery" option wipes out all multiboot configurations and
non-Microsoft operating systems.

Recently, the other shoe dropped: Current Microsoft OEM preloads are,
absent special arrangement to the contrary, MS-Windows XP on an NTFS
partition spanning the OEM system's entire hard drive -- and FIPS,
Parted, and the like cannot non-destructively resize NTFS, only the
older FAT filesystem (since NTFS is much more complex, and information
about it is treated as a trade secret). Now, when unwary users bring
their machines to Linux events, their increasingly common Windows XP
Home and Professional preloads will be a significant obstacle.

Partition Magic is one solution -- except that Linux user groups cannot
lawfully keep a copy on hand to use on visitors' machines, even if
they're willing to spend the money. Advising them to buy a copy and
come back is lawful, but not very appealing. Acronis OS Selector
(US $45) claims to be able to do the job, and one can download a "demo"
version, but any partition changes it makes cannot be applied in NT/XP's
Disk Administrator.

I've found only one other tool capable of the job, and it's a winner:
TeraByte Unlimited's BootIt Next Generation, . (I have no connection
with this company or its product.) A fully functional "30-day trial"
version of the current BootIt NG v. 1.32a is available for download,
and may be redistributed unchanged by individuals, provided no fee is

BootIt NG is a multipurpose tool: It can resize, delete, create, copy,
move, convert, archive, or format a number of partition types, including
NTFS -- the part we're interested in. But it can also implement an
(optional) extension to the regular partition table to allow more than 4
primary partitions, and can (and by default does) install to somewhere
on the hard drive for future use. If so installed, it can function as
an OS multiboot manager (much as lilo and GRUB do).

Since you'll be only resizing partitions, you should specifically
_avoid_ installing it to the HD, which is really the only tricky bit.

The ZIP archive includes a floppy image, which you write to a blank
floppy using dd or a provided DOS utility (BOOTITNG.EXE). You then boot
that floppy. The first screen ("Setup") says "Click the OK button to
install BootIt NG to the hard drive". You hit Cancel, rather than OK.
You see a screen saying this is putting you in maintenance mode. You
select Partition Work (using a mouse or the tab key). Select the
correct hard drive, if necessary. Select the partition to resize.
Select Resize. Error-check it. Enter a new partition size. You see a
screen that reminds you that using utilities like this without securing
a known-good backup is risky (which it is). And then it does its thing.
On the basis of early experience, I can recommend this proprietary
"shareware" product to all Linux user groups and others who assist new
Linux users.

I do also recommend that you lean hard on anyone who benefits from it to
send in the specified US $30[1] shareware registration fee (or eschew it
and write an open-source alternative): They'll have saved $50 compared
to the alternative tool, and received a tool they may lawfully pass
along to others.

Rick Moen FORTH heart if honk then.

[1] Now increased to $35. (Both figures are rounded.)

Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 21:50:21 -0700
From: [snipped]
To: Rick Moen
Subject: Re: Resizing NTFS

Not that it's any better than Partition Magic, but, just for the sake of
completeness, there's also Paragon Software's Partition Manager. It was
something like 20 bucks cheaper than Partition Magic.

[RM adds: Missed that one. Unfortunately, the US $40 licence is lawful to
use only by _a single person on a single computer_: The sort of usage
this correspondent spoke of (for a Linux user group's installfests)
requires Paragon Software's "Technician Licence", which is US $300.
Using Partition Manager in that fashion is equally transgressive of
its licence terms.]

Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2002 16:39:50 -0700
From: Rick Moen
Subject: Re: dualboot /XP ...
User-Agent: Mutt/1.4i

Quoting Bridge, Stuart (CAP, GCF):

> Try this link:

There's a couple of complications not addressed, there:

(1) Starting a couple of years ago, OEM preloads of MS-Windows have
typically not included real installation media, only "recovery disks"
capable only of blowing away the HD contents and restoring the exact
preload including the original partition table. The buyer is typically
unaware of this substitution -- and so doesn't know that he's lost the
ability to do real installs (with control over partitioning, etc.)
unless he buys a _second_ copy, to get the full retail version.

(2) More recently, OEM preloads have begun to be on a single NTFS
partition spanning the entire hard drive. No unallocated space, and no
FAT partitions.

Unfortunately, most of the tools people use to non-destructively
repartition -- such as FIPS, Andrew Clausen's excellent GNU Parted,
Ranish Partition Manager, Partition Resizer, DiskDrake, and PartitionIt
Extra Strength -- can't do NTFS. I know of five utilities that can.
All are proprietary. One (BootIt NG) is freely redistributable.[1]

TeraByte Unlimited's BootIt Next Generation: AUS $55 "shareware", 30 day trial
PowerQuest Corp.'s Partition Magic: AUS $145, retail / pay first
Paragon Software's Partition Manager: AUS $70, retail / pay first
Acronis OS Selector: AUS $80, trial version avail., but it's crippled.
V-Communications's System Commander 7: AUS $130, retail / pay first

(Prices are converted from US$ at current exchange rates, then rounded.)

BootIt NG is distributed[2] as a ZIP file that includes a bootable diskette
image, which you then write to floppy using either the included DOS
utility or *ix "dd" (much like GNU Parted's floppy images). Pending
development of an open-source option[3], I recommend it to Linux user

If you _don't_ have one of those five, then you can't resize NTFS in
place. Which means the user needs to back up his data, then blow away
the existing NTFS partition, and make a new one. Which in turn requires
buying a full retail copy of MS-Windows and any bundled software, plus
going through reinstallation and restore procedures.

One other thing, and I triggered a flamewar among the Linux Gazette Answer
Gang staff by urging this in my "2 cent tip" for the November issue:
I personally intend to give users diskettes of BootIt NG for their use
on their MS-Windows XP preloads at Linux events _only_ upon receipt of
US $29.95[4] cheques made out to Terabyte Unlimited to pay the shareware
fee. I don't think LUGs should be in the business trying to help people
circumvent the intent of proprietary licensing's terms, in order to
justify use of that software in an ethically dodgy manner. And saying
"Well, it's less than 30 days' usage" strikes me as dodgy, too.

I've even found, to my dismay, that some LUG leaders report having
bought copies of Partition Magic or Partition Manager and are using them
in clear violation of the licence terms on many visiting users' machines
consecutively. One such volunteer justified this action by saying he
always removed the files from each machine when he's done, and feels his
action is legal because he's "selling" the copy for $0 to each user,
who then "sells" it back for $0, so he can move on to the next user.

Open source isn't about being too cheap to buy proprietary software.
And it _certainly_ isn't about ripping off proprietary software authors,
and then claiming that it's OK because it's allegedly lawful.

[1] By individuals, if they don't charge money.
[2] . Also reportedly on
Simtel sites. Also on my machine, at .
[3] I suspect that at least some of the proprietary packages' authors
had technical help from Microsoft Corporation under nondisclosure,
an option not compatible with open-source code. Microsoft Corp.
considers technical information on NTFS to be privileged, and has
declined to document it or cooperate with open-source coders.
[4] Now $35 (rounded).

Cheers, "Learning Java has been a slow and tortuous process for me. Every
Rick Moen few minutes, I start screaming 'No, you fools!' and have to go read something from _Structure and Interpretation of
Computer Programs_ to de-stress." -- The Cube,

Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2002 09:44:27 +1000
From: Andrew Clausen
Subject: Re: dualboot /XP ...
User-Agent: Mutt/1.4i

On Thu, Oct 17, 2002 at 04:39:50PM -0700, Rick Moen wrote:

> Unfortunately, most of the tools people use to non-destructively
> repartition -- such as FIPS, Andrew Clausen's excellent GNU Parted,

Thanks :)

> Ranish Partition Manager, Partition Resizer, DiskDrake, and PartitionIt
> Extra Strength -- can't do NTFS. I know of five utilities that can.
> All are proprietary. One (BootIt NG) is freely redistributable.[1]

Yes, this is a big problem.

There's a very simple NTFS resizer included with the NTFS utilities,
roughly equivalent in functionality to FIPS. (It requires defragging)

Unfortuately, I'm extremely busy with university at the moment, and I
can't merge it into Parted. I'm accepting patches, preferably looking
like parted's reiserfs support.


Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2002 17:41:03 -0700
From: Rick Moen
Subject: Re: dualboot /XP ...
User-Agent: Mutt/1.4i

Quoting Andrew Clausen (

> Thanks :)

Yr. welcome! I carry those in my installfest kit, now.

> There's a very simple NTFS resizer included with the NTFS utilities,
> roughly equivalent in functionality to FIPS. (It requires defragging)

I assume those be Anton Altaparmakov's NTFS utilities for Linux hosted
here: ("Linux NTFS Project")

After much search, I found a copy of a prerelease ntfsresize.c by
Szabolcs Szakacsits, in the current ntfs-utils source repository, which
has moved to BitKeeper:|src/

It's not in the most recent (v. 1.6.0) release of the linux-ntfs
tarball: ntfsresize is alpha-level code, available only via development
source-code checkout.

Cheers, "That article and its poster have been cancelled."
Rick Moen -- David B. O'Donnel, sysadmin for America Online

Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2002 23:31:27 -0700
From: Rick Moen
Subject: Open-source NTFS resizer (was: dualboot /XP ...)
User-Agent: Mutt/1.4i

To summarise prior discussion:

Because people come to the Linux community expecting us to set up
dual-boot configurations alongside existing Microsoft preloads, the
shortage of open-source or even freely redistributable utilities for
resizing NTFS is becoming a significant roadblock.

I identified four boxed-set retail options (Partition Magic, Partition
Manager, Acronis OS Selector, and System Commander 7), which cost
significant money and may not be lawfully used on multiple machines
(e.g., by LUGs).

I found an apparently excellent 30-day trial "shareware" option (BootIt NG)
that may be lawfully redistributed.

Last, Andrew Clausen called my attention to "ntfsresize" (roughly
similar to FIPS), in the ntfs-progs utilities collection from Anton
Altaparmakov's Linux NTFS Utilities, .

I pulled developer source code from
(the BitKeeper repository), then hand-hacked a Makefile to force
ntfsresize to be included in the compile process. That isn't
reassuring: The implication is that this code is very pre-release.
Caveat User! I haven't tried it, for lack of any NT around here.
But I'm making it available for anyone who wants to try it. carries two versions of the source
tarball, with and without my i386 Linux binaries:

ntfs-progs-post1.6.0-20021018-i386compiled.tar.gz [1]
ntfs-progs-post1.6.0-20021018.tar.gz [1]

I recommend that Linux activists keep copies of _both_ BootIt NG (the
shareware toolkit) and the open-source ntfs-progs tools around to use on
preloads. Again, I further urge that you give copies of BootIt NG to
end-users _only_ if they hand you a US $29.95[2] cheque made out to
TeraByte Unlimited for the shareware fee. Which you then mail, to make
sure it happens.

Cheers, "Azathoth need not be present to win."
Rick Moen -- Charles O. Baucum, Jr.

[1] Both subsequently removed at the request of the project maintainers.
You should get such code directly from the maintainers to get their best
efforts and information to date. (See information at the top of this

[2] Now $34.95.

From: Andrew Clausen
Subject: Re: dualboot /XP ...
User-Agent: Mutt/1.4i
Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2002 19:18:56 +1000

On Sun, Oct 20, 2002 at 02:12:51AM -0700, Rick Moen wrote:

> In particular, I very much doubt that any open-source package for disk
> imaging includes handling of NTFS filesystem semantics (as opposed to
> just dd'ing the whole thing, which probably isn't much of a challenge).

I think partimage does, but I haven't checked.


From: "Alfred Shippen"
Subject: Re: dualboot /XP ...
Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2002 22:13:53 +1000

I too have used Norton Ghost to resize a NTFS partition. Once. never
again. I lost the data! Fortunately, I had a back-up and was able to

From: Rick Moen
Subject: Re: dualboot /XP ...
Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2002 10:53:38 -0700
User-Agent: Mutt/1.4i

Quoting Andrew Clausen (
> On Sun, Oct 20, 2002 at 02:12:51AM -0700, Rick Moen wrote:
>> In particular, I very much doubt that any open-source package for disk
>> imaging includes handling of NTFS filesystem semantics (as opposed to
>> just dd'ing the whole thing, which probably isn't much of a challenge).
> I think partimage does, but I haven't checked.

Yes! Quoting the main page:

The NTFS (Windows NT File System) is currently not fully supported:
this means you will be able to save an NTFS partition if system files
are not very fragmented, and if system files are not compressed. In this
case, you will be able to save the partition into an image file, and
you will be able to restore it after. If there is a problem when
saving, an error message will be shown and you won't be able to
continue. If you have successfully saved an NTFS partition, you
shouldn't have problems as you restore it (except in the case of
bugs). Then the best way is to try to save a partition to know if it
is possible. If not, try to defragment it with diskeeper or another
tool, and try to saving the partition again.

Rescue disks that include Partimage:

Executive Software's Diskeeper (mentioned above) is a proprietary
defragmenter for Win32, supporting NTFS and FAT. Apparently, Microsoft
includes some variant of it in some versions of MS-Windows 2000, under
licence. Symantec/Norton Speedisk defrags NTFS. Also, Raxco Software,
Inc.'s PerfectDisk NT. Ditto, Paragon Software's Partition Manager
(mentioned previously for its ability to non-destructively resize NTFS).
Also System Internals's PageDefrag.

MS-Windows XP Professional includes two defragmenters for NTFS: Disk
Defragmenter, described as a "snap in" (whatever that is -- this might
be the licensed version of Diskeeper) and Defrag.exe, a new command-line

A tip from the Linux NTFS project, at :

Windows XP has a defragmenting program built in. For users of Windows
NT and Windows 2000, there is a free program to do the same job.
Diskeeper Lite can be downloaded from [Executive

After you go through quite a long round of mandatory questionaires, you
reach a download link for Diskeeper Lite 7.0 (build 418),, an 11 MB file. No licence terms
or explicit redistribution permissions are stated, except the Web page
mentioning that it's "freeware". Running strings on the self-installer
program is unenlightening on that question. I'm nonetheless carrying it
unless and until Executive Software complains.

Cheers, "That article and its poster have been cancelled."
Rick Moen -- David B. O'Donnel, sysadmin for America Online

ASPDiskManager (bundled in the ASPLinux 7.3 Linux distribution,
resizes NTFS) from ASPLinux Pte Ltd. of Singapore (parent company =

Interestingly, ASPLinux Pte Ltd. is an authorised distributor for
Acronis OS Selector 5.0 in the Singapore region:,17038

I inquired (2002-10-23) via e-mail to ASPLinux Pte Ltd.:

From rick Wed Oct 23 16:21:34 2002
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 16:21:34 -0700
Subject: ASPDiskManager


I'm impressed by your ASPDiskManager utility.

1. What are its licence terms?
2. Is source code available to the public?
3. Is there any connection between ASPDiskManager and Acronis OS
Selector 5.0, which ASPLinux Pte Ltd. distributes?

Thank you.

Received (2002-10-24) a telephone call in return from Acronis,
confirming that ASPDiskManager _is_ Acronis OS Selector, bundled by
ASPLinux Pte Ltd. under licence.

After downloading (2002-10-24) ASPLinux 7.3 disk #1 -- distribution is
mirrored many places -- I test-booted it and verified that
ASPDiskManager is integral to the ASPLinux installer, and that the
disk's README gives blanket redistribution permission.

ASPLinux 7.1 was released on May 28, 2001, making Acronis OS Selector
very likely the first NTFS resizer.

NTFS resizer in Xandros Desktop OS (Deluxe Edition _only_): Integral to
the proprietary installer, which is available only as a shrink-wrapped
retail offering, and may not be lawfully redistributed. (Investigation
by Szabolcs Szakacsits confirmed this to be a licensed copy of PQDisk, a
scriptable version of PowerQuest's proprietary Partition Magic tool.)

Not all NTFS partitions are alike: My understanding is that MS-Windows
2000 and NT 4.0's Service Pack 3 introduced a revised NTFS format (NTFS5)
that departed sufficiently from the earlier format that older utilities
no longer worked on it. With luck, your older repartitioner will balk
at editing NTFS filesystems it doesn't understand, but that's yet
another reason why proceeding without tested backups is risky.

NTFS version NT version
---------- ----------
1.2 3.1 through 4.0 w/SP3
3.0 (which Microsoft calls "5.0") 2000, 4.0 w/SP4
3.1 (which Microsoft calls "5.1") XP, 2000 w/SP4

"fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo <volume>:" at the NT command line will report
what the NTFS _driver_ version is, but there have been only three NTFS
_format_ versions. Obviously, the now-vanished very-early versions of
NT didn't call their NTFS format "1.2", but it was reportedly unchanged
until Windows 2000 and NT 4.0's SP4.

From rick Sat Oct 26 03:00:54 2002
Date: Sat, 26 Oct 2002 03:00:54 -0700
Subject: More on resizing NTFS
User-Agent: Mutt/1.4i

Quoting from my summary:

Proprietary / terms of redistribution unknown:
o ASPLinux distribution installer's ASPDiskManager utility:
downloadable CD image,

I checked it out. OK, folks, this is a weird one.

"ASPLinux" is an RPM-based distibution produced in Russia by a company
called SWsoft, which has Linux-related subsidiaries in the USA, South
Korea, China, and Singapore (ASPLinux Pte. Ltd.). Looks like most of
the Linux business is in Singapore, but the coders are in Russia. One
of the advantages claimed for it is the ability to resize NTFS during
installation, using an included "ASPDiskManager" utility.

Which is, of course, what got my interest.

Where is it?

There are i386 and PPC[1] versions. And there are lots of download sites
for the i386 ISOs:

What is it?

The mystifying part was: Were they really giving this stuff away for
free? Was it one of those deals where only the Deluxe Edition boxed
set had the impressive goodies?

I also noticed a press release saying ASPLinux Pte. Ltd. had become an
authorised distributor for Acronis OS Selector, one of the retail,
you-may-not-redistribute packages that do NTFS resizing. So, I e-mailed
ASPLinux Pte. Ltd. asking (1) What are ASPDiskManager's licence terms?
(2) Is source code available to the public? (3) Is there any connection
between ASPDiskManager and Acronis OS Selector?

The next morning, I got a telephone call, not from ASPLinux/SWsoft, but
rather _Acronis_. They wanted to know what I was digging into, so I
told them. They said ASPDiskManager _is_ Acronis OS Selector, included
in ASPLinux under licence.

So, I downloaded an ISO of ASPLinux v. 7.3 disk 1 (of 3). Burned it to
disk. Booted it. Very nice graphical installer. Pick your language,
pick your mouse type, pick _custom_ installation (overriding the default
of quick installation), select installation source (CD), pick custom
partitioning (default). You're now in ASPDiskManager. Hot damn!

It seems quite impressive. If you highlight an existing partition and
select the Edit button, you see an Edit Partition screen whose options
include Resize. It will resize NTFS, FAT, ext2/ext3, XFS, and Reiser!
I didn't have any partitions I cared to sacrifice, let alone NTFS ones,
but likely you just exit the ASPDiskManager screen and then hard boot
and eject the CD (if you just needed the resizer, and don't want to
install ASPLinux).

How free is free?

Time for a review of software types classified by licence.

o Proprietary / non-redistributable. E.g., most retail software.
You open the box, and see a licence, which probably has a lot
of nasty restrictions, including maybe it being allegedly
non-transferrable (which courts have held to be bunk) and that
you may not hand out copies. Many people don't realise that, even
if no explicit licence said so, it would still be unlawful to
redistribute it, _by default_. The Copyright Act reserves that
right to the copyright holder.

That's right: Software is proprietary by default. It takes an
explicit licence to change this.

o Proprietary / redistributable. E.g., shareware. If you read the
README for a piece of shareware, it says you're welcome to
re-upload it, even though you're allegedly prohibited from
modifying it, reverse-engineering it, decompiling it, etc.

A lot of people assume that anything you find downloadable for free
from the Internet is therefore lawfully redistributable. Not so.
Again, that right is reserved, by default. For example, after
Microsoft save Corel from collapse with a huge investment, Corel
discontinued downloads of WordPerfect 8.0 Download Personal Edition
for Linux, _and_ apparently telephoned CNET and Tucows, saying
"Pull those files." Because WP 8.0 DPE for Linux never included
a grant of permission to redistribute, CNET and Tucows were forced
to comply.[2]

A lot of such software does exist on the Net, some of it with source
code. Where the copyright owners aren't being zealous in going
after people, often it circulates for decades. In some cases, they
intended this and just failed to include a licence statement -- or
wrote that permission in a letter, or on a Web page, or in a
telephone conversation. Any of those might suffice: A licence
is whatever a judge agrees is one.

But the point is that, if you _don't_ have any sort of licence,
then at best you can convince the judge that you lawfully downloaded
it: You have no inherent right to redistribute. If you do
redistribute, you run the risk of the copyright owner coming
screaming at you, telling you that you may not (and worse things,
in these days of DMCA legal action).

A more current example is Borland Kylix Open Edition. You can
download it directly from Borland for free -- but its terms very
explicitly omit permission to redistribute. (In fact, just in
case you're unclear on that point, it's actually forbidden.)
If they wished, Borland could also designate other authorised
download sites -- like CNET's and Tucows, for example.
But all of those sites could be shut off without advance notice,
and nobody would have the right to offer it elsewhere.

o Open source. This is software that _is_ explicitly redistributable,
and whose further development anyone may take over ("fork"). As
noted, this isn't possible without a licence, since the default
licence (inherent in the Copyright Act) is proprietary.

But what the hell is this...?

Which brings us back to ASPLinux, ASPDiskManager, and Acronis OS
Selector. Acronis OS Selector is very much in the proprietary /
non-redistributable category. But what about ASPLinux (which _includes_
Acronis OS Selector, under licence)?

I read the README. It says you're explicitly allowed to redistribute.

It's obvious that the ASPLinux installer as a whole (including
ASPDiskManager) falls basically into the second category, above
(proprietary / redistributable). There's no sign of source code for it,
so nobody's going to be able to maintain ASPDiskManager independently
of SWsoft. And there's no obvious way to extract just ASPDiskManager
from the installer, and pass it around separately. But it looks like
ASPLinux disk 1 can be distributed indefinitely.

Acronis may eventually become unhappy about this -- as it puts a bit
of a monkeywrench in their product sales model. They might convey
that unhappiness to ASPLinux Pte Ltd. / SWsoft, who conceivably might
yank existing ISOs from ftp sites it controls and ask removal from
others. But I _believe_ they could _not_ compel the files' removal.
(I'm not a lawyer.)


Linux users who're in the habit of helping people create MS-Windows
dual-boot setups might want to add ASPLinux disk1 to their kits.
It appears to be as redistributable as the open-source (but scarily
prerelease) ntfsresize utility, and even more than BootIt NG (which
may not be redistributed by companies or for money). And by all means
put one or both of the rescue disks with the open-source Partimage
partition-imaging utility in your kits ( , Both are toolkits, but the latter
one has preconstructed images, too.

[1] There used to be a version of Windows NT for PowerPC, with NTFS
support. So, it's quite possible that ASPLinux for PPC includes an
NTFS resizer, and that such a feature would not be entirely pointless.
However, it seems very unlikely that the Linux community would have to
deal with such computers, at this late date.

[2] One can still find WP 8.0 DPE elsewhere. Presumably, Corel quit
after getting it removed from the two largest download sites. The
point is that Corel _could_ enjoin all the others, too.

In January 2003, Acronis replaced OS Selector with PartitionExpert,
adding support for ReiserFS, among other things.

From: Rick Moen (
Subject: Re: On install: Partition failed (What now?)
Newsgroups: alt.os.linux.suse
Organization: If you lived here, you'd be $HOME already.
User-Agent: tin/1.7.5-20040615 ("Gighay") (UNIX) (Linux/2.4.24-1-686 (i686))
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 23:34:02 GMT

Kevin Nathan wrote:
> On Wed, 29 Dec 2004 04:07:22 GMT, "Dennis J. Tuchler" ( wrote:

>> When I started the partitioning and formatting, I saw this message:
>> Resize Failed
>> Resizing /dev/hda2 failed

> My guess is that your Windows partitions need to be cleaned up and
> defragged first. Assuming hda1 is the Dell Utility ring, hda2 would be
> Win drive C:. Alternatively, you could resize the Windows stuff with
> something like Partition Magic *before* installing SUSE . . .

The following Linux rescue disk CD images include QtParted and ntfsresize, allowing you to nondestructively resize NTFS utilities using nothing but GUI-based open-source tools:

The QtParted/ntfsresize combination has become very reliable since I started keeping notes on the problem in 2002[1], and I recommend them for this purpose.

[1] See: "NTFS" on

Cheers,                                      Hardware:  The part you kick.
Rick Moen                                    Software:  The part you boot.

Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.misc
Subject: Re: Do we need wine?
Date: 6 Jan 2006 11:42:45 -0800

CAPSKOV wrote:

> My friend tell me, Linux does not support NTFS drives perfectly. It
> may be danger to write on it. Really?

There are quite many NTFS implementations for Linux with different degree of reliability and functionality:

1. Obsolete NTFS kernel driver. It's used up to kernel 2.4. Read is OK, write was disabled for Win2000 and up 4 years ago, because write was implemented only for NT4. This basically read-only (today everybody use only XP, Win2000 and Win2003) driver is referred as "dangerous" by a few people who prefer still to live in the previous millenium.

2. Current NTFS kernel driver. Read is fully supported for 3-4 years, write is reliable but not everything is implemented.

3. User space NTFS library and utilities (ntfsprogs). Full read and almost full write support. Reliable.

4. ntfsmount. It's in ntfsprogs and uses FUSE to mount and read/write NTFS. Comment is as above. Full read and almost full write support. Reliable. Several Live CD uses it, e.g. Knoppix, Recovery Is Possible, Trinity RK, etc.

5. Captive NTFS. It uses the Windows NTFS driver. It has some limitations (e.g., very slow, 1 GB file size limit) but if you manage to get it work, and can gracefully umount, then it should be fine.

Other NTFS implementations for Linux are done by Partimage (very limited, not reliable and plans to use ntfsprogs), Paragon, Acronis, Symantec (commercial and limited).

Except for the obsolete 1., all the other implementations are still actively developed and maintained. For 2., 3. and 4. see, and, for 5., see