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Linux tips and tweaks

Improvements to Disk Utility in Ubuntu 10.04

There have been many changes to Ubuntu with the latest 10.04 release and the most obvious one is the new user interface theme. As you use the latest operating system though, you will find lots of tweaks here and there are aren't immediately obvious.

For example, Disk Utility (on the System, Administration menu has been given a make-over and it has a new look and new features. The design is more modern and it is a much more useful utility. Let's take a tour of the new Disk Utility software...

The left hand panel is organised in a different way and instead of having a list of drives with disk partitions as branches off a drive in a tree structure, now you have Local Storage as the top of the tree with connection methods below, such as SATA Host Adapter and Peripheral Devices (USB and FireWire).

Indented below the disk interface, such as SATA Host Adapter, are the devices that are connected to it, such as a hard disk drive and a CD/DVD-Rom drive. You can see brief details of the make and model of the hard disks, CD/DVD-Roms and disk controller. Below Peripheral Devices are the USB devices - if you have any.

Ubuntu Disk Utility

So where has the partition and file system information gone to? This is now displayed on the right hand side when you select a drive in the left panel. Select a disk and you can see a detailed description on the right, including the make and model, firmware version, S.M.A.R.T. status, partition type and even rotation speed.

A partition map shows Linux and Windows NTFS and FAT partitions. You can select a partition to get more information about it, such as the partition type, filing system, mount point, capacity and so on. You can mount or unmount disks and partitions, format partitions or whole disks, edit the partition, benchmark the disk, and check the file system. It's only possible to check the file system on a disk that isn't mounted though. It's a shame you can't schedule a disk check on boot up like you can with Windows.

The S.M.A.R.T. information screen is excellent and you can view a detailed diagnostic report of the disk to ensure that it is working properly. /p>

Ubuntu Disk Utility

You can even benchmark a disk and there are both read and write tests. The minimum and maximum transfer rates are measured and the access time is calculated. The results are displayed on a chart and it will be useful to check the performance in addition to the S.M.A.R.T. status if you think that your disk drive may be failing.

Ubuntu Disk Utility

Disk Utility was OK before, but it's an excellent utility now. It has a modern look and lots of great features.

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