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.
9.3
20.82MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Feature limited freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 2000 - Windows 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/
0.16.2-1b
165.7 MB-live ISO, 1.7MB-linux tarball
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
All Windows, Linux, ,Intel based Mac OS
Paragon Partition Manager 12 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 7

 

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 freedog96150 on 27. May 2010 - 19:50  (50472)

Thanks. There are more updates pending.

I have been in the process of moving to a new city, upgrading my office and upgrading my network so my time has been a premium. Once the dust settles, I will post all new test results and reviews.

by Anonymous on 2. June 2010 - 2:39  (50858)

EASUS is now offering their Partition Master as a free program in version 5.8.1 which according to the web site also has a wizard to recover deleted partitions.

http://www.partition-tool.com/

by Anonymous on 27. June 2010 - 13:45  (53275)

Version 5 of Partition Wizard supports EXT2 and EXT3 now and inside EASEUS Ext2 and Ext3 are not shown. Therefor they removed it or it isn't shown in Windows.

by chord (not verified) on 1. July 2010 - 9:40  (53556)

easeus partition mananger 6.0.1 now released, Support GPT volumes - GPT disk partitioning, GPT disk copy, disaster recovery, etc.

the best partition manager i used, thumbs up!!!

http://www.partition-tool.com/personal.htm

by tonyx (not verified) on 28. July 2010 - 17:22  (55055)

Tried many partition software, end up in my box is
GParted (for my Linux, too bad I have to boot all the time)
Partition Wizard 5.0 (for my Windows when I am little bit lazy...:))

by chunnk wind (not verified) on 29. July 2010 - 8:25  (55108)

partition wizard is very dangerous software.

backup all partition first before use it!!!!

by 123 (not verified) on 30. July 2010 - 9:03  (55178)

Easeus Partition Master 6.1.1 Home Edition can recover deletd or lost partitions for free, very good!

by tonyx (not verified) on 30. July 2010 - 16:49  (55196)

general speaking, all partition softwares are danger to your disk and data. I never do it without backup no matter what software I try.

I don't have any issue with Partition Wizard. do u mind share your story?

by chunnk wind (not verified) on 3. August 2010 - 3:00  (55380)

Pw Software failed to complete loading on my laptop. I made several boot attempts all unsuccessful. Software froze on detecting the drive. Last, my system cannot load....

by crazyguy (not verified) on 16. August 2010 - 15:33  (56123)

EASEUS Partition Master Home Edition 6.1.1 IS NOT STABLE!!!! It makes my system crash after use it to resize the drive C.

Bad luck!

by Anupam on 16. August 2010 - 16:17  (56127)

Are you sure its something to do with the software, and not your way of usage that caused the problem? Did you look for similar problems on their forum?

by Wololo (not verified) on 19. August 2010 - 19:45  (56369)

Partition Wizard "is" portable:

"Hi XXXXX XXXXXX,

Thank you for contacting us. You could create a portable version by yourself.

After you install Partition Wizard to your computer, you could zip the directory of Partition Wizard directly.

And then you could use it without installation.

Hope this help.

On Sat, Apr 10, 2010 at 4:46 PM, XXXXX XXXXXX wrote:

Dear Partition Wizard support,

with version 4 you had a portable version (a zip file of Partition Wiazard).
Are you planning to make a portable version aswell for version 5?

Kind regards

XXXXX XXXXXX

--
Sincerely

Support Team
MT Solution Ltd"

I like it much more than EASEUS as it has some more features. It also supports EXT2 and EXT3 and I didn't see it in EASEUS. But I never had problems with both programs. So my favorite is Partition Wizard, especially as it is still portable (regarding the pasted mail above).

by daninel (not verified) on 23. August 2010 - 1:47  (56535)

Easeus free partition manager is the best choice!!!!

After trying unsuccessfully other free partition managers to format external USB HDD's to FAT 32 I was surprised that Easeus Partition Manager 6.1 did the job almost instantly! All you have to do is select the drive and the format type then click the apply button. Kudos to Easeus.

by wreckage on 26. August 2010 - 2:24  (56730)

Hello, Freedog's successor. :-)

Firstly, kudos to you for maintaining this section on Gizmo’s site.

Now that more and more people are opting to use the 64bit versions of operating systems, it would be great if you could update your partition manager section to include information on how (or even if) these programs handle 64bit file systems.
Thank-you.

Regards,
wreckage

by kendall.a on 26. August 2010 - 5:00  (56738)

As you can see, this page is allocated to "site.editor". That probably means that it currently does not have a specific editor assigned. Thus, it most likely will not be updated anytime soon.

If you have an interest in being a site/page editor please let us know via PM or via our forums. This site is strictly maintained by volunteer editors. If you have an interest in testing and reviewing these programs, please give us a shout.

by MidnightCowboy on 26. August 2010 - 8:41  (56750)

True (thanks Kendall). We are in fact planning to make a specific request for a new editor for this category via our RSS feed as the ability level necessary to manage it is quite high.

by ukuser (not verified) on 28. August 2010 - 0:02  (56856)

nice review and some interesting comments below. In fact, partition softwares listed in this page all work for 32 and 64 bit Windows OS. however, it seems to me only Partition Wizard is free for 64 bit. for this point of view, Partition Wizard stands out other choices

hope this help.

by bastull (not verified) on 1. September 2010 - 3:33  (57070)

sorry, I can not install partition wizard on my windows 7 64bit system. it just tell me to buy their pro version, so, i think the "free" just a thrick!!!

by ukuser (not verified) on 2. September 2010 - 7:44  (57131)

myself and my classmates never had this problem on our Win7, maybe just because your pc configuration. Well, you can also use there boot CD. Free as well.

by Kaihekoa (not verified) on 1. November 2010 - 13:10  (60568)

Did you read what the above poster wrote? It won't install on 64 bit OS. EASEUS' free version is only compatible with 32 bit systems. When you try to install it on a 64 bit OS, you receive an error message. I used Minitool instead which is fast and covers the basic partition management functions. Millions of people use 64 bit OSs now so I would take EASEUS from the #1 selection due to this incompatibility.

by Wowdude (not verified) on 1. November 2010 - 23:15  (60615)

I have tried Easus Partition manager and was satisfied with the results I was receiving when in use. However when I came to re-doing my girlfriends laptop and upgrading it to windows 7 (from xp), I decided to do it the smart way...partition the hard-drive, fresh install of xp with 7 over the top then just move the files (Documents, Music, etc.) across.

When I came to use the partition manager, for no convievable reason, it stopped working 3/30042 of the way in. Windows gave me a blue screen and the hard-drive was eventually wiped by the laptop repair disc.

So be careful when using any partition software (especially easus) and backup all of your sensative or required data!

(Edit) offensive language removed

by crank on 2. November 2010 - 7:34  (60639)

Thanks for the kudos though since this is the absolutely first action I have taken as the new guy, they are not deserved, at least not yet. Your idea is in concert with my early thoughts as to what needed doing. I am already pondering that along with a few other ideas for the near future.

Having just returned from a little get-together to Restore Sanity, I feel ready to jump into this category well known for producing hair-pulling, screaming insanity.

FYI--My main system has 4 disks, 9 partitions, 5 OS's not counting the, as of a few minutes ago, 6 OS's in a VirtualBox setup. Second system has 2 disks, 6 partitions on 2, and the 3rd is to be for testing at the moment. I have the 32 & 64 bit versions of XP, Vista and System7 so I can test many scenarios, as many as my sanity and time allow. [Also, a laptop with Sys7 & kubuntu and an older, 32bit processor IBM for semi-legacy tests].

Over the next few weeks I plan to update the reviews with new data about GUID partitions and 64 bit OS issues. Plus, I want to add a section on tips for those new to partitioning, particularly traps to avoid and ways to extricate yourself if you didn't.

Your message just arrived it seems, though it is dated 8/25, I will look into what happened there.

--Freedog's successor, though you can call me mech

by crank on 2. November 2010 - 7:47  (60641)

Your warning to be careful when partitioning should be heeded by all. I just had the same thing happen with my laptop, though I was using Partition Wizard and the glitch occurred as it rebooted the system and went to work on the OS partition.

Systems glitch, I wouldn't write off a good program because that happened once. If you do much repartitioning, you will see more system-wrecking problems, it goes with the territory. Read the article on imaging your system disks and you'll have a great insurance policy protecting you.

by justanonymous (not verified) on 24. November 2010 - 19:39  (61628)

thx for the reivew. solved my problem, my vote goes to Minitool!

by Anonymous101 (not verified) on 26. November 2010 - 12:31  (61670)

This review needs to be updated because Minitool Partition Wizard now supports Linux ext2 and ext3 (or whatever they are called - closed the company's browser tab) file system in the free, and other, edition.

It also now has a bootable version which you wil access when downloading the 'Bootable from CD' ISO download.

So both negative points wiped out, which means this should go to the top of the list. Especially since this is a program that works like a charm.

by crank on 26. November 2010 - 18:51  (61683)

Thank you for your comment and correction. I edited the lines with the out of date information, and added a specific mention of the support for xt2 and ext3. There is already mention of the bootable CD in the "Lost/Deleted Partition Recovery:" section, and the lack of portable and BartsPE stands as correct.

I am still fairly new here, please bear with me a bit, I'm in the middle of substantial hardware, software, and wetware upgrading [the wetware resists alarmingly, but is progressing]. I should have a substantial update to this page soon.

This is somewhat of a transition period with the move to 64bit OS and the changing disk/BIOS etc scene, the new review should lay out how these packages manage in this new and quickly evolving atmosphere [assuming my internal wetware HD isn't wiped in a freak BSOD-like glitch, a not impossible scenario when I work with all this IT].Thanks again for the heads-up.

by angellan (not verified) on 2. December 2010 - 3:31  (61914)

Has a dangerous oversight to partition wizard!

My drive was partitioned as C:, D:, E:, F:. I wanted to merge D: and E: with C: and keep F: as it was. I had cleared and de-allocated these two partitions with Windows. When I ran PW it only displayed the C: partition it regarded the vacant area and the fully functional allocated F: partition as one big unallocated area. So I never it lose on my drive because it could not see an existing non-contiguous allocated partition. Easeus did the job properly.

by Sidelong (not verified) on 15. December 2010 - 17:53  (62575)

I used Minitool PW v.5.2 successfully to begin with. Then recently it started to fail on loading, with error message "Minitool Partition Wizard has stopped working..." I am running W7 32-bit, patched up to date, with no issues that I know about. The start of this behaviour did not coincide with any other change afaik. Anyway PW is now useless as far as I am concerned. Has this happened to anyone else?

by crank on 15. December 2010 - 18:21  (62577)

I can't say anything comes to mind immediately, or rather too many things, have you tried a simple re-install? Having multiple installs of these packages on multiple machines, this did happen a couple of times, but not sure if MiniTool failed like that. A re-install cured any problem. Try un-installing with Revo Uninstaller:
http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-program-un-installer.htm#Revo-...
and then re-install, I imagine the problem will go away.

Partition managers get touchier than run-of-the-mill applications, they get closer to the hardware.

Hope that helps.

by dika_saja (not verified) on 16. December 2010 - 3:29  (62599)

Any one know partition software support exFAT ?

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