I did something the other day that I’ve not done in a long time – I bought a computer magazine, just for the cover-mounted CD.
It used to be the way I got most of my software. Sometimes it was a ‘lite’ version, with less features, sometimes it was a slightly old version, and sometimes it was the latest full version.
I think the reason I stopped was that Open Source software caught up with that trailing edge of software that the cover CDs thrived on, and we got the Interweb to distribute it all. The magazines became pointless because any news they could cover had already been covered on plenty of web sites, and reviews had become available online so many places that it didn’t seem worth paying for any more. And for the most part, anything you could get on a cover CD could be easily matched by Free software. OpenOffice may not be quite up to the standard of Microsoft Office (yet), but it probably beats any old versions of the other office suites that might get given away on cover discs.
The thing that tempted me back was the current issue of Computer Shopper magazine, with Paragon Hard Disk Manager 6.0 on it. The cover says it’s the “FULL CURRENT VERSION”, which seems a bit doubtful when there’s an upgrade offer inside for “Paragon Partition Manager” version 8.0 inside – the product name may be different, but it certainly sounds like a newer version of the same thing. Still, the version supplied does seem to work. I couldn’t decide if I was being brave or just stupid when I let it attempt to resize my main NTFS partition, but all it took was a reboot and an hour and a half or so, and it’s working fine now. It can also duplicate partitions from one disk to another.
I tried that, but the newly duplicated disk isn’t bootable. I’ve not had a go at fixing that yet, but booting from an XP CD and doing a repair would probably fix it. The only small problem there is that I don’t have a CD drive I can boot from.
Even without that, though, it’s enabled me to do lots of useful things. as long as I can remember to keep multiple copies and make sure everything works before deleting anything I may regret later.
Certainly useful enough to be worth the Â£3.50, anyway.