Whether you want to run two operating systems on one PC, set up a new hard drive or optimise your current one, having a partitioning utility is essential. So is Paragon Partition Manager the best choice for hard drive management?
The core features are all present and correct. Install a new hard drive and you can create a primary or extended partition on it, of whatever size you like. This can be formatted using a decent list of file systems (FAT32, NTFS, Ext2FS, Ext3FS, ReiserFS, L-Swap2).
Once created, partitions can be copied, moved, resized, deleted and - fortunately - retrieved. New wizards make these processes easier than they were, but overall the program still feels a little cumbersome.
To format a partition, say, you click 'Format', complete the dialog, click 'OK', select 'Apply' on the toolbar and confirm. Then a progress window appears to show you what's happening. Another alert tells you to close the progress window. The program can be set up to hide most of these, but it's still not the ideal interface.
The new XP-style task panes don't do much for the interface, either. Of the 10 options available in the task panes, six are duplicates of buttons already available on the main toolbar, making this more a cosmetic change than anything offering real benefits.
Still, if you're an experienced PC user then you'll have no problem finding your way around, and there's certainly a lot to like. You get a powerful defragmenter that works well even on 99 per cent full drives. A disk-to-disk copy tool for cloning hard drives is also included. And a data loss protection feature that ensures you'll lose nothing during any disk operations, even if the power fails before they've finished.
Partition Manager is short on new features, and if you own an older version already then there's little reason to upgrade. But if you're looking for a versatile hard drive manager, and you can forgive the program its occasional interface quirks, then it makes an effective and reasonably priced choice. Mike Williams