Easeus Partition Manager Home Edition is a free disk partitioning utility that offers a powerful range of functions such as resizing drive partitions, formatting partitions, copying partitions/drives, creating new partitions, deleting partitions, hiding partitions, changing drive letters, setting active partitions, and a handful other functions.
[Update 12/4/2008] This review updated to include two new features that were added in the new Easeus Partition Manager v.3.0: copying drives and partitions.
This program makes managing or changing your hard drive partitions extremely simple and easy. The reason for this is that unlike many partition management programs that typically have to be booted into from a liveCD (e..g the excellent Gparted), Easeus Partition Manager runs from Windows, has an excellent, simple to use user interface, and (again unlike most other free partitioning software) can perform many – though not all – operations on the spot without requiring a reboot. Here are more notes on this program:
- The User Interface: is clean and intuitive. It displays your drives/partitions visually within a “disk map” that shows the status of your partitions and drives at a glance, including used vs. blank space, any unallocated space, as well as basic partition information. There is also a list of drives and partitions and all operations can be performed by simply right clicking on the drive/partition you want to change (or from the buttons on the main toolbar).
- How it works: Easeus Partition Manager provides a staging environment where you select your disk/partition edits and changes in sequence, then implement all of them at once when you’re done. Until you are ready to implement it gives you the option to undo individual steps or undo all changes if you need to.
- Supported drives: IDE, SATA, SCSI, USB removable disk, and Firewire disks are all supported. The smallest capability is 2 GB and (as of ver. 3.0) the largest is I.5 TB; supports a maximum of 32 disks.
- Performance: is simply excellent, although I say this from a purely subjective persepctive. I have performed lengthy partition resizing operations with Gparted before and Easeus Partition Manager seems to be faster, but note that I only tested it on moving 1 gig across partitions.
- Primary functions: resizing, formatting, creating, and deleting partitions. You can actually resize a partition visually in the resize dialog by grabbing onto the edge of the displayed partition and moving it (see image to the right).
- Other functions: “change drive letter” (haven’t tried myself, wondering if it works on a primary partition i.e. changing the default C: to something else). “Hide partition” (a way to prevent your partition from appearing in explorer, for security reasons), “set active partition” (i.e. set the bootable partition that will contain your OS), “check partition“, which will check your partition for errors using Windows’ built in diagnostic tools (Chkdisk.exe and Scandisk).
- New functions in v3.0: copy partitions or drives. This is useful for either upgrading to a larger disk, for backup, or for data salvage purposes. Easeus Partition Manager will perform either a file copy or, if it encounters data corruption or errors, a sector by sector copy. The program perform the copying process after a re-boot, outside of the Windows environment, which I mention because I found the speed of the copying to be quite fast/noteworthy. Note that disk/partition copy is not disk imaging and should not be confused with that (the process generates files within a folder structure, not an image file).
- Differences between free and paid versions: the free Home Edition is free for home and individual use, not commercial use. The free version will run on Windows 2000, XP, and Vista 32 bit only, while the paid versions will run on 64 bit, server editions and various other Windows versions. The free version will not create a bootable disk, which the paid versions do.
The verdict: this program is billed as a “free replacement for Partition Magic” and as such it is a very worthy one. It is very powerful and easy to use and as the free edition for individual users it packs all the power that the paid editions offers. What I like about this program is that it works straight from the Windows environment, as opposed to having to boot into it from a LiveCD or bootable drive. This makes the program much more accessible, user friendly, and easy to install and use. This is freeware just as I like it: simple, straightforward, easy to use, and does the job brilliantly. Highly recommended.
Version Tested: 3.0
Compatibility: Windows 2000, XP, and Vista (for the free versions).
Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 7.93 megs).