Best Free Partition Management Software

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Introduction

Having partitions on a hard disk works like, although not exactly the same as, having different hard disks.

If your computer has unallocated space on a hard disk, you can create additional partitions from the unallocated space after logging on as an administrator. If a hard disk space is fully allocated, unallocated space can be generated if the size of a partition is reduced or a partition is deleted.

One of the main objectives of having partitions in a hard disk is for separation of user files from operating system files. By keeping user files in a separate partition from another that hosts the operating system, user files can usually remain intact if the operating system needs to be reinstalled. If you need to prepare for a multi-booting setup from a single disk, it would be ideal to have a separate partition for each system. Other than these purposes, you might also want to refer to other benefits for disk partitioning as described here.

Some users may prefer Windows’ built-in Disk Management utility to manage partitions, but most average users will like third party or standalone partition managers, which are usually equipped with more features and easier to use in general.

 

Rated Products

MiniTool Partition Wizard  

A very easy program to use with the power and features needed for your disks


Our Rating: 
5
License: Free (Private/Educational use)
Fast performance, easy to use, support RAID drives and disks over 2 TB; repair MBR; support UEFI boot and Linux ext2 and ext3 files systems.
Recovery media requires separate download.
Read full review...

EaseUS Partition Master Free  

Easily create, delete, format, convert or explore partitions on your hard drive


Our Rating: 
4.5
License: Free (Limited features)
Intuitive and user-friendly interface, features include resize, move, copy, create, delete, hide, unhide, convert, explore and format partitions. Compatible with Windows based on GPT drive and UEFI/EFI boot.
A wizard is included for copying partitions and hard disks only. No recovery CD.
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Paragon Partition Manager Free  

Make disk management easy with wizards


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Limited features)
Wizards to create, format, resize and copy partitions with support for deleting partitions. Informative detailed, customizable layout on main page. Support of GPT/UEFI configurations and works with Apple HFS+ file system.
Require to register to get a free serial number, more advanced features available only to the paid version.
Read full review...

GParted  

A GNOME partition editor for resizing, creating, deleting, moving or copying partitions


Our Rating: 
3.5
License: Free (Open source)
Supports for ext2, ext3, ext4, ntfs, fat16, fat32 and many other file systems. Most reliable overall in my experience, program itself is standard in Linux distribution.
Offline. Partitions need to be unmounted before they are allowed for editing. The Linux environment may be a bit intimidating for first-timers.
Read full review...

Lost/Deleted Partition Recovery

My top two choices both offer partition recovery wizards. Both work as expected. For Partition Wizard, you will need to download the bootable recovery CD from their website and burn to a CD. Why make a recovery disk? Well, if the partition that you happen to delete is the main OS partition, your computer will not boot, so a recovery CD will be essential in restoring the partition or fixing the master boot record in order to return your computer to a bootable state.

You might also want to try TestDisk. This is a console application designed for data recovery. The free program can be used to fix partition table, recover deleted partitions or copy files from deleted partitions. Other features include recover or rebuild NTFS or FAT boot sector, fix FAT tables, undelete files from the file systems, etc.

 

Other Partition Managers

These are a number of other free partition managers which were brought up in comments here or noted from other sources. As they are not rated in this review, I am listing them here with brief descriptions and links to their sites for ease of reference.

  • Partition Logic allows you to create, delete, format, defragment, resize, move partitions and modify their attributes. It is based on the Visopsys operating system, booting from a CD or floppy disk and running as a standalone system, independent of your regular operating system.
  • Cute Partition Manager is using DOS interface to add, edit, delete and manage the partitions in your computer, but merging or resizing existing partitions is not supported. 
  • Ranish Partition Manager is a hard disk partitioning tool to create, copy, and resize primary and extended partitions. It includes command line interface and simulation mode that works with large files.

 

Notes

  • Number of partitions: A hard disk configured as a basic disk is limited to 4 primary partitions, or 3 primary partitions and 1 extended partition that can contain multiple logical drives.
  • Basic disk: A basic disk is a physical disk that contains primary partitions, extended partitions, or logical drives. Partitions and logical drives on basic disks are also known as basic volumes.
  • Primary partition: A primary partition can be created on a hard drive that can host an operating system and functions as though it were a physically separate hard drive.
  • Extended partition: An extended partition is a container that can hold one or more logical drives, which function like primary partitions except that they cannot be used to start an operating system like Windows.

 

Editor

This software review is copy-edited by Ian Richards. Please help edit and improve this article by clicking here.

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Comments

How do i know if any of these partitioning programs can create boot managers & thus install additional o/s's?
Do the reviewers say so or is it up to us to download & install each program to find out?

I may be wrong, but partition tools do not "create boot managers" - that's the job of the installer of operating system you are installing.

Joe, i'm sorry to say that you ARE wrong. PartitionMagic, Partition Commander, System Commander all create boot managers & install o/s's.

There are good reasons why those products are not recommended or even mentioned in the review:

  1. They were all commercial products with trial/demo/shareware versions. Technically they are not free software.
  2. They are all discontinued products so I wouldn't recommend using them for the important task of managing your partitions and drives.
  3. They do not support the latest operating systems and features.

Partition Commander. AFAIK, Version 11 introduced the new feature of a boot manager

System Commander is the name of several products including the following. AFAIK, Avanquest System Commander ended at Version 9, discontinued 2008.  V-Com System Commander was another product in the mid-2000s which may have become the Avanquest product.

PowerQuest/Symantec Partition Magic, last version 2004, discontinued 2009.

Remah, believe it or not, i've used & still got all the s/w's you mentioned since 1997 starting with PartitionMagic 3.5, then V-Com System Commander 2000, 7, 9 (Vista-supported), and the last one, Avanquest Partition Commander 11 but only Windows 7-supported.
I now have Windows 8.1 & i now need a new partioning s/w (and a free one if possible) because, as you said, the old s/w's do not support the lastest o/s's
The best was System Commander - it was fool-proof and so user-friendly but V-Com shut down & Avanquest took over. Pity.

Have a look at the recommended products. I've tried them all and pretty much agree with the reviews.

I rely on GParted Live and it has never let me down. It is not as easy to use as the Windows applications but I prefer offline changes and the two-step process of configuring one or more actions before committing the changes.

Thank you for the info Plantman. I learned something new today. Install OSs? I really have to look into this. Can you provide me with any links? Point me in the direction to do some reading? Thanks.

Joe, there are millions of articles about boot managers & installing additional o/s's - also called "dual booting" if only 2 o/s's are installed.
Google "installing more than 1 operating system" - Youtube as well.
Mind you, as you've never done this before, it can be a steep learning curve: it depends on how user-friendly the software is. Backup before doing it.
As for recommended s/w, i cant at the moment because i havent yet tried all the free ones yet. As for paid s/w, see my reply to Remah.

Thank you Plantman, I understand now. I do dual boot Linux and Windows but I let Grub handle the boot entries for me. That is what Grub is for, isn't it?

Anyway, this discussion is getting a bit too long. If you wish to continue, you can start a thread in the forum and I'd be happy to participate.

Yes Joe, Grub is Linux's boot manager.

I dont need to continue because you now know where to look for anything re partitioning.

Correction: Minitool does have a portable, free Linux based version available for download.

http://www.minitool.com/partition-manager/partition-wizard-bootable.html

That's not Portable, it's Bootable. Not the same thing.

For my basic partitioning tasks (resize, merge, change drive letter), I'm using Window's built-in Disk Management tool and so far I've encountered no issue. I previously used Easeus and Aomei but felt they were too bloated for my needs... Just sayin', and I'm running Windows 10 on my Surface 3 by the way.

How about AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard Edition?
Is it not good enough to be reviewed?

This review is currently without any editor. When an editor takes over, they will take a look at the suggestions.

FYI: i have been using MiniTool Partition Wizard v7.7 for a long time and it's worked like a charm. Very happy with it.

It's been alerting me that there's a new version, so i downloaded it. It is version 9.0 dated January 14, 2015. They hosted it at cnet (download.com), so i was worried. But i looked it up at virustotal.com and none of the AV's reported PUP.

I installed it and it did not appear to do anything untoward (or "unwanted"). It DID open a browser window to
www.partitionwizard.com/feedback/install-partition-wizard.html

I used it to shrink a parition on a new external USB 3.0 2TB drive and create a 1GB partition in front of it. And it worked fine. Seemed to preserve the existing data. (All i did to check was just browse the folders and files tho.)

Here's the install file details:

==================================================
Filename : pwfree9.exe
MD5 : 6dfdd5c65bf5ec8b9c4ffcdff90f8539
SHA1 : 8d344e46d2317184afdacc90d8f10618ba1df511
CRC32 : eac4d29c
SHA-256 : 442d8cb85753b58dcc8e0bd1735059fa09068b9fe1638038d0d90682c23602b5
SHA-512 : 748ebb718226b31b33a9abb485b8cfc4d0856d98c3d1f9235abd0406fa12dd4f21cca232c5468598629cb56acbe60fb6f20b21ac59dd030b9ea0ef00bf3f6725
File Size : 31,973,976
File Version : 9.0
==================================================

[this output is from HashMyFiles which i found here! :D]

5 stars for Paragon Partition Manager 14 Free Edition in my book - managed to fix what the 1st two choices could not - undoing the changes made installing and then removing Ubuntu Linux... I had multiple unnamed partitions, and the guided mode not only managed to merge some of the empty nameless partitions, but also moved the now bigger D partition right next to the C partition. And then merge the C & D partitions! All without a hitch... Will be supporting them and buying the full version as soon as I can...

I have a C drive and a virtual D drive - the C was small and filling up quickly, the D was large and had plenty of free space.
So I looked for a tool to enlarge the C and reduce the D.
Loaded EASUS (free version) and got interrupted during install by AVG with a warning about a virus - I removed the infected file, and just in case it was part of the download, I uninstalled EASUS.
Then downloaded Paragon (free version), and tried a number of times to modify the partition size. I googled and looked at answers posted by the Paragon team, but the sizes couldn't be changed, either in the 'express' method or running the whole app and selecting the Modify Partitions options. I clicked and double clicked, dragged borders that wouldn't move, entered new sizes that were rejected, and totally got nowhere. So I abandoned it after a while and uninstalled.
Then I installed the free version of Minitool Partition Home edition. How easy was that! Intuitive visual slider to indicate what space was available, I dragged it to where I wanted it and hit the Apply button - all done.
Jack

Firstly, a huge thanks to the team as you do a fantastic job & have helped me a great deal in the past. However, MiniTool Partition Wizard has given me no end of problems. I received a new laptop this Friday (27/6/14) & installed MiniTool's software last nite. Booted up this morning & ran the s/w to partition my 1Tb drive into 4 more manageable partitions. The s/w restarted the machine, partitioned the drive as it rebooted & there were no error messages as the s/w partitioned the disk. However, it then failed to restart fully giving me an "Unexpected Kernel Mode Trap" msg. I did a bit of research & rebooted in safe mode successfully followed by a successful clean boot. Then I looked at my computer details to find that I now only have a 100G C drive & a 20G recovery D drive!

Partition Wizard can still see the other 880G of the disk but file explorer couldn't initially but now I've manually allocated drive letters to them I can now view the other partitions in file explorer. (I had allocated them in Partition Wizard but it wasn't picked up for some reason). However, unfortunately I can now no longer clean boot & can only boot in safe mode! Frankly I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to try next. It's especially frustrating as I've only had the machine 2 days & already I can't use it properly. :~{

Thanks MC. I didn't think to try the forum. (I might have got myself into a bit of a panic. ;~)

I eventually bit the bullet & used HP's option "Refresh your PC" & it worked a charm. Not sure what went wrong but at least I have a working PC again.

Cheers

Glad you got it sorted. :) MC

when it comes to free partition managers there are few options to choose from and MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition is undoubtedly the best of them all because it provides the most features for free and also provides a boot disc for separate download.
when it comes to actual usability , i think EASEUS Partition Master is slightly better than MiniTool Partition Wizard but both of them are pretty good and give the user more options than Windows’ built-in Disk Management utility and as such both are highly recommended .

Many thanks for the links. I will get them all.

I really appreciate the reasoned responses on this issue. Maybe it was the right time for an old coot to step in malware doo-doo and stir this up. A warning on any of the recommendations might read: "Beware, free software may contain bundled elements you don't want! Use at your own risk." I am certainly sensitized now. I won't even believe Microsoft anymore. It will be Custom Install and use the linked software you mentioned.

Good day to you all and thank for the hundreds of hours each of you puts in every year to find all this good stuff. Finally, Ian, we all owe you a big handshake for putting this site together many years back. It is unique.

Safe computing to all!

Walter

Sorry guys, I let my frustration show through after a bad morning. Yes, I goofed up. But I stick to the fact--EASEUS bundled a very nasty piece of malware with a good tool. And I don't think that is very responsible. It is not easy to get rid of and I venture that most ordinary folks would never get it out without professional help.

Gizmo is still the best place to go and in nearly 10 years this is the first time I have ever got in trouble with a recommendation. As I said in my original post, "...my bad..." Let me add, Mea Culpa!

I thank all of you for setting me straight.

Yep, sadly Esaeus has been a dog with fleas for some time, unlike MiniTool Partition Wizard.
Thanks to Gizmo's, a while back I took advantage of installing the free 9.0 Professional Edition; clean as a whistle and a joy to use.

Thank you for your comments and compliments, this is a vexing issue without a good answer, only a workable one. As the old adage says [kinda], "The price of freestuff is eternal vigilance." I know it is eternally annoying, but we have had to learn to always turn on that switch in our heads that says 'beware, thar be malware here'. Always look for the 'custom' checkbox, or checked boxes, anything that gives even the slightest hint of a clue that they're trying to sneak something in. It really is the price now in the ever more mercenary, commercial world.
Thanks for responding in a positive way :). Sadly, more and more freeware are now being bundled with adware, and other extras. This is now becoming somewhat of a trend, and even open source software on Sourceforge are getting caught in this. So, it pays to be extra careful while installing software these days. Whenever and wherever possible, we do try to indicate about these in our reviews, but we aren't always up to date. That said, we will really appreciate if in future, you come across such a software with bundled extras, and it's not been mentioned in our review, please notify us. We will update the review, and mention about the bundled extras.
Thank you for responding. :) Believe me we would like to do more regarding bundled software if only it was possible. By far the safest approach though is to assume that all software authors will be looking to make a commercial gain somewhere if only to cover their costs and the guys who "sell" wrapped installers and the like are highly persuasive. So, if you assume something is there from the outset and go looking for it via the "custom install" options, then you won't go far wrong. Also, having the free version of WinPatrol installed will help to block any unwanted components you might miss. http://www.winpatrol.com/download.html Lastly, employing ToolWiz TimeFreeze will enable you to test out an installer in a virtual environment without fear of it adding unwanted stuff to your real system. MC - Site Manager. http://www.toolwiz.com/?s=timefreeze&post_type=post

Watch our for easeus! It contains 'Entrusted Toolbar' and I downloaded this am on another machine, Entrusted came along, i declined the install, but it is a false front and came along. Hijacked firefox, IE and chrome. Spent most of the afternoon cleaning it out. Here is a great link with instructions on how to kill it:

http://malwaretips.com/blogs/entrusted-toolbar-removal/

This one is no joke! I gave this article only 1 Star. Hey guys, we all need to be more careful. I tend to trust Gizmo stuff implicitly. Maybe no more. My bad for letting it happen.

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