Managing your hard-drive partitions effectively is an important aspect of owning a PC, as that allows people to segregate data based on categories. For instance, you can keep your multimedia files (movies, music etc.) in one partition, your work folders in another, while your programs etc. can be installed on your system drive. Also, if you’re a power-user and use your PC to double or triple-boot into various operating systems, you already know that it’s impossible without dividing your SSD or HDD into smaller partitions. That being the case, we’ve compiled a list of the best free partition management software for Windows and Linux to help you manage your hard disk partitions effectively:
Best Free Partition Software in 2017
1. EaseUS Partition Master
EaseUS is one of the very best partition software in the market today. It gives a host of options to the user, including, create, format, resize, move, split, merge, copy, wipe, check and explore. The reason it is at number one is because it not only works exactly as advertised, but also includes a number of extra features, like a partition recovery option that can recover lost or deleted partitions. It also allows users to convert from FAT to NTFS, primary to logical and vice-versa. The best part? It’s all included in the free version.
I’ve personally used EaseUS Partition Manager myself to partition my hard drives and SSDs for several years, and have found the GUI to be extremely intuitive, and the program itself is also extremely easy to use for anybody with the slightest idea of what they want to do. While the free version offers a comprehensive set of features, you’ll need to upgrade to the ‘Pro’ version if you want to migrate your operating system to a new HDD or SSD. The program is available only on Windows, and is compatible with every version from XP to Windows 10.
2. AOMEI Partition Assistant
AOMEI Partition Assistant is available as a free download without any restrictions, which means you can use it for both personal and commercial use. It offers a wide gamut of features and options for its users, including resize, merge, create, format, split, copy and recover partitions. You can also convert the file system from FAT to NTFS and vice-versa without losing any data in the drive volume(s) in question. The program also allows the MBR to be rebuilt from scratch.
As is to be expected with most of these so-called ‘freemium’ software, some of its most important features of AOMEI Partition Assistant are hidden behind a paywall, including the ability to migrate the operating system to a different HDD or SSD and, convert between primary and logical partitions. The software can also be used to create a bootable Windows disc or flash drive. Called Windows PE Builder, it allows you to setup partitions even without having an operating system installed.
3. MiniTool Partion Wizard
MiniTool Partition Wizard is yet another partition manager program that is available for free but packs quite a punch in terms of its features. As you’d expect from most partition management programs, the free version of MiniTool can create, resize, move, delete, format, hide, unhide, split, merge, copy, clone and even recover deleted partitions. What’s more, the program also allows users to rebuild the MBR table and convert file system from FAT to NTFS and vice-versa.
MiniTool is one of the fastest programs in its category and, supports RAID drives, external USB drives and even FireWire disks. The program is also compatible with Linux ext2/ext3 file types. There’s also an optional “enhanced data protection mode” that you can turn on while modifying your disk partitions so as to protect the data in those partitions in case of a power failure during an operation. Like EaseUS, MiniTool also offers the OS migration feature, but only in its Pro version (and above) that starts at $39.
4. Paragon Partition Manager
Like most of the other programs on the list, Paragon Partition Manager also allows users users to create, format, resize, delete, hide and copy partitions. It also allows users to convert disk partition type from MBR to GPT and vice-versa. While the free version of Paragon Partition Master offers a comprehensive list of features, you’ll need to buy the Pro version if you want additional features, like merge partitions, convert NTFS to FAT32, change cluster size and convert dynamic disk to basic.
Paragon Partition Magic also supports GPT/UEFI configurations, and works with Apple’s HFS+ file system. While we haven’t checked out the paid version of the software, the free version isn’t really as feature-rich as some of the aforementioned options. Sure, it gets the job done swiftly and effectively, but unless you’re willing to pay for the premium versions, you’ll miss out on a few features that you will otherwise get in some of the other free programs on the list.
GParted is a powerful, free and open-source (FOSS) partition editor for Linux-based systems, but can also be used on Macs or Windows PCs by booting from GParted Live. The software not only allows users to create, resize, delete, move and copy partitions on a hard disk, but also to create a partition table and enable or disable partition flags. As expected from a program meant to be run on Linux, GParted supports ext2, ext3 and ext4 alongside NTFS, FAT16, FAT32 and many other file systems.
In case you’re apprehensive about using an app meant for Linux-based systems to manage your NTFS partitions, don’t be. The program works very well with NTFS because of the Linux NTFS-3G NTFS filesystem driver that allows programs like GParted to work with Windows volumes without any data loss. Being a FOSS software, it is also completely free irrespective of your use case. However, if you’re a total novice to disk management, you may find the UI not as intuitive as the commercial solutions mentioned in this list.
6. Macrorit Disk Partition Expert
Macrorit Disk Partition Expert is by far the easiest to use when compared to the rest of the programs on this list. While it offers users the usual features that are expected from standard disk management programs, it also comes with a few features that are a little less common. First off, it offers a portable version, so you can actually use it without having to install it on your PC. Secondly, the program first applies the changes virtually to let you see their effects before actually going through with the changes for real. You’ll have to hit the ‘Commit’ button to actually go through with the action once you’re happy with what you see. Also, like MiniTool Partition Wizard, Macrorit also has “power-off protection and data disaster recovery”, which prevents loss of data in case of power outage during the partitioning/merging/deleting or any other process.
For all its innovative features, Macrorit lacks a few important features that can be found on some of the other software mentioned on this list. One of the most important features missing from the software is the ability to migrate the operating system. While it’s not really a big deal if you’re looking to use the free version of the program (because none of the others offer it in their free editions either), if you want a full-featured suite and are ready to pay for it, there are other, more feature-rich options available in the market, although, they do cost a bit more than this one.
Bonus: Windows Disk Management
A lot of people don’t realize this, but Windows already comes with a built-in disk management program called, well, “Disk Management”. The tool can be accessed by using the ‘diskmgmt.msc’ command or by searching for ‘Disk Management’ on the Start Menu search panel, and, gives users quite a few options to manage hard disks and the volumes or partitions that they contain. Users can initialize disks, create volumes, assign drive letters and format drives with the utility. As is to be expected, it supports both FAT and NTFS file systems, and can extend, shrink, merge or even delete partitions.
Microsoft first introduced the disk management utility in Windows 2000, and it can be found in all subsequent Windows editions right up to Windows 10. While the initial versions of the program were quite limited in what they could do, Microsoft has added a few new features to the utility over the course of time, and it is now a quite capable disk management tool. However, it still lacks many of the essential features that most of the free third-party programs come with, but if you’re looking for something really basic, chances are, the built-in Windows utility will be enough for your needs.
SEE ALSO: Best Free Backup Software for Windows
The Best Free Partition Managers for Your Computer
As you can see from our list above, there’s a whole host of programs to manage hard disk partitions, and most of them offer a very similar set of features. While the paid versions come with extra bells and whistles, the free editions should do just fine for most users. So, do you use any of the above software to manage your HDD or SSD partitions, or do you want to recommend something else that offers more features in its free version? Do let us know by leaving your thoughts in the comment section below because we love hearing from you.