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.

 
Discussion

Minitool Partition Wizard ScreenshotMiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition is a very easy program to use with a solid graphical interface and the power and features to accomplish everything you need done to your disks. From the standards like resizing, creating, moving, deleting, formatting and copying disks and partitions to some fancy tasks like Hot Extend of the system partition without reboot, wiping your disks and partition recovery — Partition Wizard aims to be your one-stop software for all your disk needs.  It supports all hard disks including IDE, SATA, SCSI, USB external disks, Fire wire disks. Now, with the new version 7.0 edition, Minitool has a '7' instead of a '6' in its name.

My testing on modest hardware returned very fast results for most tasks. On the average, a disk resize including reboots clocked in at under 5 minutes. These results are very close to my results for Easeus Partition Master.  In fact, the times for Partition Wizard and Easeus were so close that the differences in completion time are not even worth mentioning. I elaborate on my testing procedures below for anyone interested in the details.

A few notable features - The partition recovery wizard worked great. I was able to see the previous partitions created and deleted, regardless of the tool used, and recover 100% of those partitions complete with data. There is also an enhanced data protection mode that you can optionally select when you are modifying your disks and partitions. The website describes the data protection mode as insurance against corrupting your disks while a partition task is running due to power failures and other electrical disturbances. This sounded like a great safety feature, but not one I was willing to test. Since the overhead of using this feature was a few megabytes of disk space, this is one of those "just use it" features. Recent experience shows this must add capability others can't match - I was able to alter certain partitions without the system needing to reboot, while other online programs required a reboot to complete the operation, probably related to the 'hot-extend' feature. Again, this can cause havoc with dual-booting systems.

EASEUS Partition MasterEASEUS Partition Master (Home Edition) allows you to easily create, delete,  format, convert or explore partitions on your hard drive.  A few clicks and you can also resize, move, hide or unhide existing partitions - all without harming your data. Also included is a Copy Wizard.  Upgrading from smaller disks to larger disks is easily accomplished with the help of the copy wizard.

All of the above functions are accomplished by using an intuitive, user-friendly interface.  Only relevant tasks are enabled when a partition is selected.  This takes much of the guess work out of deciding what you need to do to complete a task.  Since the software is installed onto your hard drive, you work within the familiar Windows environment without the need to boot from a Live CD.

EASEUS Partition Master works with different file systems and supports up to 4.0 TB hard disks. It can handle up to 32 hard disks and works with hardware RAID as well. Supports Windows 7, GPT partitioning and partitioning Linux file systems: delete, create, format, recover EXT2/EXT3 partition, etc..  Now as of version 9.0 supports merging, and wiping unallocated regions of disks.

As of Version 9.1 can merge adjacent partitions and Easeus offers to migrate your system to a larger drive with almost '1-click' ease, us hasn't tried this, the procedure appears little different from cloning to a larger partition.

One significant drawback is that Easeus free edition has no bootable recovery CD, for this kind of applications that can so easily render your machine unbootable, this should not be overlooked (make sure you have a recovery option available to you if you are altering your system partition, or even the system disk). 

Paragon Partition Manager Free EditionParagon Partition Manager Free Edition offers a few basic tasks: create a partition, resize partitions, copy and delete a partition.

This program includes a wizard to create a new partition in the appropriate place of your hard disk, format it to NTFS and make it available in the system by assigning a drive letter. It also has a wizard to increase free space on one partition by up-taking the unused space of an adjacent partition of your hard disk.  The main screen in partition view shows an impressive array of data about all of your disks/partitions, including start/stop sectors, size, label, Partition ID, filesystem.  Now if only they offered a way to export all that great data [MiniTool can export much of these data, but doesn't have a view where you can see it all at once]

A copy wizard is also included with the program, while deleting partitions in a hard disk is supported.

A few drawbacks to this program are that it requires you to register online to get a free serial number for installing the program and more advanced features are only available to the paid version.

GPartedGParted is a GNOME partition editor for resizing, creating, deleting, moving or copying partitions on a hard disk. You can also create a partition table and enable or disable partition flags such as boot and hidden.

This partition editor offers support for journaled file system including ext2, ext3 and ext4 commonly used on Linux, the NTFS file system used on Windows, and FAT file system widely used on most computer systems, memory cards and portable devices. 

GParted runs on the Linux system and can also be used on Windows by booting from a LiveCD called GParted Live.

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.

 
Review Procedures

I used modest hardware for my testing. I wanted to simulate test times that were more average than taint the test times by using my primary computer which is a modern high-end workstation. My test box is a Dell Dimension 3000 (circa 2005) with an Intel Celeron 2.4Ghz CPU, 1GB RAM and a 40GB HD. I loaded Windows XP SP3 as the OS of choice simply because it is still the most used OS. Due to the type of software being tested, I used a clean image on a physical machine. No Virtual machines for this test.

With each software program, I ran a very simple set of tests. I started with the drive partitioned as one large 40GB partition. I split the partition into 2 equal sized partitions, formatted the new partition as NTFS, then used Windows explorer to move 10GB of data from the original partition to the new partition. I then reversed the process and combined the two partitions back into a single partition. I timed each task from the time I clicked the apply button to when the computer rebooted when the task was completed. I ran each test 3 times and took the average of the three results. I also tested the delete, recovery and format features using a similar test sequence.

 
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.
 
Have Your Say

You are invited to share and discuss your views in our freeware forum.  To post in the forum you need to register first, but that's quick and immediate. Alternatively, anyone can leave a comment at the bottom of this page.

Please help us by rating this review

 
Quick Selection Guide

MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition 7.0
5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Fast performance, easy to use graphic interface, supports RAID drives, supports disks over 2 TB, bootable recovery CD available for download, can repairs Master Boot Records (both MBR and GPT formats). Supports Linux ext2 and ext3 files systems. Data Protection mode allows for more non-reboot required editing scenarios, and the recovery media offers much of the functionality of the full, online program. Fully support Win8/UEFI boot.
Recovery media requires separate download
8.1.1
19.8 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Feature limited freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Supports Windows 2000 /XP /Vista /Windows 7 and 8
EASEUS Partition Master (Home Edition)
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Intuitive and user-friendly interface, features include resize, move, copy, create, delete, hide, unhide, convert, explore and format partitions with a single step. Compatible with Windows Operating System based on GPT drive and UEFI/EFI boot, especially for Windows 8.
A wizard is included for copying partitions and hard disks only. No recovery CD.
10.1
29.2 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Feature limited freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP - Windows 8.1
Paragon Partition Manager 14 Free Edition
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Wizards to create, format, resize and copy partitions with support for deleting partitions. Informative detailed, customizable layout on main page. Support of Win8/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.
2014
41.6 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Feature limited freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 2000 to 8
GParted
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Supports for ext2, ext3, ext4, ntfs, fat16, fat32 and many other file systems. Most reliable overall based on 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.
http://gparted.sourceforge.net/
0.19.1-4
194 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
All Windows, Linux, ,Intel based Mac OS

 

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

Editor

partition manager, free partition manager, freeware, free partition, disk partition, disc partition

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Comments

by Chris2.0 on 17. November 2014 - 19:35  (119676)

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...

by auntiejack56 on 25. September 2014 - 14:46  (118797)

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

by rearadmiral on 29. June 2014 - 14:07  (117004)

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. :~{

by MidnightCowboy on 29. June 2014 - 14:38  (117005)

Please post your issue here in our forum where it will receive greater exposure. MC - Site Manager.
http://www.techsupportalert.com/freeware-forum/system/

by rearadmiral on 29. June 2014 - 15:22  (117009)

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

by MidnightCowboy on 29. June 2014 - 15:46  (117011)

Glad you got it sorted. :) MC

by gurudev on 16. June 2014 - 20:04  (116795)

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 .

by benedict1 on 21. July 2013 - 15:17  (109460)

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

by benedict1 on 21. July 2013 - 12:25  (109455)

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.

by crank on 21. July 2013 - 14:28  (109459)

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.

by Anupam on 21. July 2013 - 13:05  (109457)

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.

by MidnightCowboy on 21. July 2013 - 12:49  (109456)

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

by benedict1 on 20. July 2013 - 23:55  (109434)

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.

by Anupam on 21. July 2013 - 6:50  (109446)

I will share my experience, regarding installation of Easeus Partition Master(EPM), and you will see how things can change.

I already had setup of Easeus Partition Master 9.2.2 from before, when the new version had been released. This was months ago. After reading and replying to your comment here, I installed EPM on the computer. In the setup that I had, there was nothing wrong... no bundled software, no extras, none at all.

Then, I downloaded the setup for EPM again from its site. This is the same version, 9.2.2... the latest available. But, this time during installation, there were bundled extras. As you report, there is Entrusted Toolbar. But, I deselcted them by choosing Custom Installation. Had you chosen that? After choosing custom installation, and unchecking all checkmarks underneath it, I did not get any extras on my computer.
On the next screen though, another program was suggested, which was an extra too, and I opted out of that one too. EPM was then installed, and nothing extra was installed on my computer.

So, you can see, for the same version, how things changed. So, how can you expect us to always be updated? The editor obviously wrote his review for the previous version, when no extras were bundled with the program. Even with the same version, as shown above, things can change. You cannot expect us to keep updated with such situations.

Also, when I installed EPM, and chose Custom Installation, and carefully opted out of the extras, nothing extra was installed on my computer. So, maybe you were not careful enough, and got the extras on your computer?

Sorry for the trouble you had to go through, but as shown, I think you are being unjustly unfair to Gizmo's.

by Anupam on 21. July 2013 - 5:26  (109443)

Whenever programs are bundled with toolbars, etc... we try to indicate about it, in the reviews, but these situations keep changing. The program might be clean sometime before, but then they decide to change, and start bundling it with extras. Or, the program was bundling some other extras before, but comes bundled with some other thing now. In such situations, we might not always be updated. Therefore, it is also upon the users to be careful while they install the software.

Essentially, Gizmo's Freeware is a review site. We provide reviews of software, that's our main job. But yes, because we care, whenever possible, we do provide information about extras being bundled... but that's not our main job. It's the responsibility of the users to be careful during software installation, etc.

Anyways, thanks for bringing this to our notice, the review will be duly updated after checking about the bundled extras.

by MidnightCowboy on 21. July 2013 - 8:19  (109450)

Anupam is correct. We have well over a thousand products in our database and these would need testing every week in order to keep up with what they might be bundled with, so as you can see an impossible task. We do however amend the product details whenever changes become known and are always grateful when these are pointed out in the comments. It is however unfair to place this onus totally on us when all of these components can be seen and avoided during the install process. We also provide dedicated information about this in other articles. MC - Site Manager.

http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/what-else-have-you-just-download...
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/cnet-downloadcom-wrapped-install...
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/controversial-advertising-progra...

by George.J on 21. May 2013 - 13:37  (107935)

crank, have a look at Active Partition Manager. It seems really good and is fully freeware (unlike others).

*The latest version has the ability to convert GPT to MBR and MBR to GPT partition style on fixed disks preserving existing partitions

Also another good partition manager is AOMEI Partition Assistant. It's free for both home and business users.

by crank on 21. May 2013 - 18:59  (107938)

I concur with both George.J and Anupam. Active Partition Manager is pretty basic, and the AOMEI spam level is over done. That last is unfortunate because their latest version looks quite promising, I am going to give it a closer look, see how well they implement their WinPE recovery environment, if the application should really prove exceptional, then I could make an exception!

Thanks for your input, all is welcome and we sure appreciate attentive, helpful visitors to the site. Have a good day.

by Anupam on 21. May 2013 - 17:50  (107937)

Aomei have been spamming the site since long. I don't their products will be included.

by George.J on 21. May 2013 - 13:52  (107936)

On testing Active Partition Manager, I find that it's just a basic partition manager that doesn't have advanced capabilities.

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