There’s been a proliferation of excellent free hard drive partitioning software in the past year or two.
These programs typically offer all the basic partitioning functionality for free (e.g. creating, resizing, formatting, copying, deleting, setting active partitions, as well as advanced functions such as USB drive support, virtual disk partitions, and support for MBR and GPT disks.
What I like about Aomei, aside from it’s support for partition merging, is it’s clean, functional interface free of clutter, and (unlike other, similar programs in it’s category) free of links to inactive paid functions. Also, this software is free for commercial use, despite ‘home addition’ in the name.
There are ways to manage partitions; one, using software that you boot into via live CD or USB, and manage your partitions outside of the Windows environment (e.g (Gparted, Parted Magic). The other kind is this type of software, launched from within Windows, and which can either perform it’s functions on the spot or on reboot. There are times when you cannot boot into Windows for whatever reason and the former is what you need, but, if not, my own personal preference is the perform these functions from within Windows.
This software belongs to the latter category motioned above, as are two other programs that we’ve previously written about, Easeus Partition Manager and Partition Wizard, both excellent, feature rich programs. In fact all three programs are extremely similar, with a similar set of functions, and an almost identical interface and look and feel. (So much so that I sometimes suspect and wouldn’t be surprised if they’re all based on the same code – but I digress).
[expand title=”How does Aomei compare to the other two mentioned above? Click here for a list:“]
- Interface: the one thing I like most about Aomei, compared to the other two, is that there is not a function on the console that is not actually offered freely, and that surprises you by linking out to a web site
- It offers a partition merging function, like Easeus and unlike Partition Wizard
- No rebuild MBR function: unlike Partition Wizard. If you want a standalone freeware that does this, check out MBR Regenerator.
- No support for bootable media: like Easeus and unlike Partition Wizard. Note, though, that if you want bootable media, you could use the Partition Wizard software, Gparted, Parted Magic, or others alongside Aomei on your desktop.
- Free for COMMERCIAL use. Unlike Easeus and Partition Wizard. They really should drop the very misleading ‘home addition’ from the name.
[expand title=”More notes about this program (click here):“]
- The interface: aside from being free of teasers for paid functions, most things can be done via visual drag and drop (see screenshot to the right). A handful of wizards are on offer as well, for those who like them.
- Wide range of functions: resize, move, merge, split, copy, create, delete, format, wipe, clone, and hide partitions. Set active partition, change label, change drive letter, convert across FAT/FAT 32 and NTFS, convert Logical partition to Primary and vice versa, and check partition surface.
- Advanced functions: supports virtual disk partition in VMware, VirtualBox and Virtual PC, supports all hardware RAID, such as RAID 0, 1, 5, 10; supports most HDD standards, such as IDE, SCSI, SATA, SAS, SSD, USB 1.0/2.0, IEEE 1394 (FireWire); supports removable devices such as USB flash drives, memory cards, and memory sticks; supports MBR disk and GPT disk with partition sizes up to 4TB; supports up to 32 disks in one system.
The verdict: I like this software because (a) what you see is what you get – and what you see is good; (b) it has a wide range functions, including all the functions that 99% of users need, and (c) it offers support for a nice set of advanced functions, such as USB and virtual disk partitioning, and partitions up to 4TB.
Moreover, I tested this program and – on a purely subjective, non scientific level – was impressed with it’s speed and efficiency. A winner.
Version tested: 4.0
Compatibility: both 32 bit & 64 bit versions of Windows 8, Windows 7 (SP1 supported), Vista, XP, and Windows 2000 Professional.
Go to the program home page to download (~ 3.0 megs).