Software

Five Apps for working with disk partitions

Matthew Nawrocki shares five freeware partition editors that should serve as effective replacements for the tools that come with Windows.

Most of us probably have rather large hard disks or SSDs at our disposal. If you like to work with multiple operating systems or need a better way to segregate the storage of data, like separate partitions for media files and apps for instance, it's important to use a tool that can perform the task of slicing up a disk easily and safely. Although all Windows versions since Vista come with a basic, built-in partition manager, it still might be too simple or limiting for some tasks. For today's Five Apps blog entry, we will be looking at five excellent freeware partition editors that should serve as effective replacements for Microsoft's implementation.

This blog post is also available as a TechRepublic Photo Gallery.

Five Apps

1. EaseUS Partition Master Home Edition

This product not only has the distinction of being a user-friendly partition manager for Windows, but EaseUS throws in a few handy extras, such as basic file recovery as well as backup and restore abilities. There are also tutorials to help guide a user along with the proper instructions on what you need to do for effective partitioning. The user interface is clean and there aren't any nagging popups, begging you to upgrade to a paid version.

2. Active@ Partition Manager

Active@'s solution is decidedly Spartan looking. Despite this fact, it covers all the necessary bases well for partition management operations. If you are a power user, you can even edit partition tables directly at the HEX level, if you are brave enough of course. The only problem with this software is the lack of Windows 8 support, so just be aware of that.

3. Paragon Partition Manager 12 Free

Paragon Software, a premier vendor for high-quality administration tools, has a free version of its powerful partition management solution. What makes this tool stand out from most is the easy to use "express" wizard, which makes partitioning on disks a relative snap. The standard interface on the other hand is a bit lacking in features. But for a free product, it's to be expected.

4. MiniTool Partition Wizard

From a company I only heard about recently, MiniTool's partition application is feature packed and powerful enough for home users. It even supports cutting-edge features, like UEFI boot, 4K advanced format drives and clean partition merging. There is even a feature for creating a bootable flash drive for offline system disk slicing. This product is definitely worth checking out.

5. GParted

Despite being a Linux-based application, GParted can work easily with Windows NTFS partitions, allowing for resize and move operations with no data-loss. This is all thanks to the Linux NTFS-3G NTFS filesystem driver, which gives tools like GParted the access it needs to touch Windows volumes effectively. You can also change boot and active partition flags as needed.

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About

An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Cus...

13 comments
Jeromed007
Jeromed007

Thank you for your useful article. I have leaned a lot.

In fact, my friend has ever also encountered the similar partition extending problems. Even thorough his Windows 7 comes with a Disk Management that enables him to extend/shrink partition itself. But, the disk management finally failed. 

So, in order to extend his partition, he had tried many partition managers over the internet, including your mentioned EaseUS Partition Master Free, Partition Magic Server Free and MiniTool Partition Wizard Home, etc.

But, only the second free one eventually extended his partitions successfully and without any data loss. Therefore, I come here and want to share these experiences with you.

I hope my words can also help others, too.

computerflyer
computerflyer

EaseUS tries to sneak in some things during install and does a moderately hard sell to buy Pro.  Make sure you do not get on their mailing list unless you want lots of offers!  Software is for the more technically inclined and works fine.

blairzou
blairzou


How about Partition Assistant? I have used it for move my partition to extend another partition easily.

 

SRI User
SRI User

I'm 2500 miles from the server I need to create space on. I'm considering EaseUS and Partiton Magic Server to repartition my drive on my Windows Storage Server 2003. From what I've seen, these applications *appear* to run in a fully-booted system. What are my risks if I do this remotely? ETA: I could also use Remote Desktop, if that would be better/safer. Thanks for any advice.

lehnerus2000
lehnerus2000

@tim.deeley Why not use bootable program CDs/DVDs, Live Linux CDs/DVDs and or USB sticks? ("Reply" to posts doesn't work for me on this page)

gurusnord
gurusnord

I'm also fond of GParted as my go-to partitioning app. It's the closest (free) replacement for Partition Magic which I used to use extensively.

tim.deeley
tim.deeley

Yep - Here we go again - So your OS is **%%$£$ and you need to look at your partition and you only have a GUI app.......So do any of these do none GUI. Disk tools in all instances should also be able to work with out an OS to be worth while, as well as having a GUI interface, for those other tasks.

mckinnej
mckinnej

If you want to go for the best "system" for disk care and feeding, Parted Magic is the way to go. It is essentially a specialized Linux distro dedicated to disks. Its centerpiece is Gparted, which several others have mentioned as being great (and I heartily concur!). I keep Parted Magic on a thumb drive at all times. So far I haven't found a single thing it couldn't do. You can't beat the price with a stick either...FREE!!!

maj37
maj37

Nice list thanks. Oh and thanks again for the 2 links in the newletter, this time I even noticed they were there.

Dyalect
Dyalect

Best one out there for stubborn drives. And free free free.

RipVan
RipVan

Once I started using it, I haven't tried anything else, so I have no other experience. It does rock!

lehnerus2000
lehnerus2000

I use GParted to pre-partition all of my HDDs before installing the operating systems (it lets me avoid that worthless 100MB partition that W7 creates). Since I run XP, W7 and a Linux distro (currently Linux Mint 14 MATE) I need a tool that can handle multiple file systems and the Windows Disk Manager doesn't make the grade. GParted is also superior to Windows Disk Manager, when you need to resize partitions.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Do you find yourself performing partition management functions often? What tools do you use?

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