Partition magician

Create and manage disk partitions with this powerful free utility.

MiniTool's Partition Wizard Home Edition is a free disk utility that adds powerful partition management capabilities to both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows installations. It can create, delete, resize, format, copy, convert, and hide partitions; change drive letters; convert dynamic disks back to basic disks; and perform critical tests and maintenance duties. It supports most disk types, including removable storage devices like flash drives and memory cards.

Partition Wizard's interface resembles recent Windows editions, with a familiar blue-toned navigation pane and color-delineated bar graphs for each disk partition. It opened with a detailed display of our system's disks and partition information, including a flash drive in a USB port. We opted to test Partition Wizard on the flash drive since there's no lack of tools for managing hard-drive partitions, but they don't always handle removable drives so well. We ran our little flash drive through its paces, gaining quick familiarity with this powerful but easy-to-use software. We like the Operations Pending window, which collects all selected procedures, awaiting your Apply or Undo command. Another nice touch is a Wizard file menu for quickly accessing the program's wizard-based copy and recovery tools. We clicked Format Partition to reformat our flash drive's FAT partition as NTFS, and then clicked Apply to initiate the change, which called up a caution message about open applications. Clicking Surface Test called up a dialog with the familiar animated block map display, whereas the Wipe Partition control offers several levels of disk-wiping. Simple commands like labeling partitions or changing drive letters are handled by small pop-ups, and more-powerful tools, like Copy Partition, offer much greater levels of detail and control. You can also download a free bootable, burnable CD ISO image that lets you boot into Partition Wizard to manage partitions without limitations, including functions like merging partitions and rebuilding Master Boot Records.

Partition Wizard Home Edition is a great example of the sort of freeware that can both simplify and enhance Windows' capabilities. It's an all-in-one disk partition manager that earns our top recommendation.

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