Hard drive partitioning is far from being the most glamorous side of computing, but it is one that is almost more important than ever now that hard drives are larger than ever. It makes a great deal of sense to split up a large hard drive into two or more partitions, and this is something that Paragon Partition Manager 12 Free could help you with.
You might well wonder why a separate partition tool would be needed when Windows itself includes tools for managing your disks, but there is a strong argument for using a dedicated partition tool. There are various comparatively expensive programs that can be used to manage your hard drive, but this is a free tool that has all of the basics covered.
It is true to say that Windows includes partition management options, but the Disk Management console is fairly well hidden. It is not a feature of Windows that you would find by accident and even when you have it up and running you’ll find that it is a little on the basic side. While the Paragon Partition Manager 12 Free is not the most advanced partitioning tool available, it gets off to a great start thanks to its ease of use.
Despite the fact the program is free, when you run the installer for the app you’ll be prompted to enter a serial number – this is no cause for concern as there is a link to the registration web site from which you can obtain a free code.
The program can be used in one of two ways, and the introductory screen that appears on first launch – known as Express Mode – encourages users into taking advantage of the simple, wizard-based tools to take care of partitions.
Express Mode is great for anyone who is not overly familiar or comfortable with the idea of partition management. There are links to access the partition creation, resizing, formatting and deleting options of the program, and all are made very easy to use thanks to their guided nature.
Working in Express Mode gives you access to all of the basic functions you’re going to need. If you have already used another tool to split your hard drive up into two or more partitions, you may have later decided that the sizing is not quite right – not a problem with the resizing option that can be used to redistribute space in just a few clicks.
If you are yet to partition your drive to any extent, the Create New Partition option should be your first port of all. It does not matter if you have unused, unformatted space on your drive or not as this wizard will guide you through the process of reducing the size of your existing partition so that a second one can be created.
If you get a new drive you can use the program to get things configured to your liking, and the additional formatting and deletion options are sure to come in handy.
While you should find that you’re able to carry most of the tasks you need in Express Mode, there is also the more advanced mode available. Switching to this mode provides you with a more detailed overview of all of the drives and partitions you have. You still have access to all of the same options that you were suing in Express Mode, but there is a slightly different interface in addition to a few extra tools.
Even when you are working in the more advanced mode, Paragon Partition Manager 12 Free remains easy to use. In many instances you will find that a wizard is activated when you try to perform various actions – such as partition resizing – but it is the extra options that make this mode worth investigating.
You have the ability to make certain partitions invisible as well as performing more basic tasks such as changing partition labels. While you are given the option of removing drive letters from partitions, there is no option to change existing drive letters that have been assigned.
You can also perform tests on your drives and partitions to ensure that the file system that is in use is correctly configured, and a surface test is available so you can check the physical state of your drive. It’s great to find that most of the changes you select in the program are not immediately applied. This means that you can queue up a series of actions to be performed in one operation, but it also gives you the chance to change your mind before committing yourself.
For the purposes of this review, we’ve concentrated on the free version of the program, but there are more advanced paid-for editions available as well. You can found out more about the differences between the various versions ate the Paragon Software web site (http://www.paragon-software.com).
This is far from being the most advanced partitioning tool available, but it does pretty much everything you’re likely to need for basic drive management.
The fact that it is free is a big bonus, and it makes the potentially tricky task of partitioning a drive easy for everyone.