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I'm looking for a good disk partitioning/management software suite. I've been using Acronis Disk Director but I've had a few data corruption issues which I think might be related to it (especially after reading comments on the Internet about it bricking other people's hard drives).

Some basic things I'm looking for are:

  • Runs on Windows.
  • Can boot from CD / create a bootable rescue CD to run the software.
  • Can handle most basic partitioning tasks - deleting, creating, resizing, splitting, merging, etc.
  • Handles at least Windows and Linux partitions / file systems.
  • Stable and safe!
  • Not too expensive.

I'm only managing a few home machines here, so I don't need any features for managing large deployments.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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8 Answers 8

up vote 5 down vote accepted

ubuntu live cd has a partition editor that i often use.

also gparted is another favorite

http://gparted.sourceforge.net

they dont "run on" windows, but are windows compatable. they are LiveCDs.

also both are free

i believe both are stable and safe, i have never had any problems

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@Nick, gparted is the way to go. And, i think its used by many to work with Windows and for NTFS partitions too. If your partition manager can handle the filesystems involved, it need not be Windows based. Guess gparted scores on all your points. –  nik Jul 13 '09 at 6:55
    
I tried the gparted LiveCD today. I used it to extend an NTFS partition on a Windows XP machine from about 50 GB to about 120 GB. Seemed to work okay, but on reboot Windows wanted to run chkdsk. No obvious data loss, but triggering chkdsk does concern me a little, unless there's a good explanation as to why that should happen. –  Nick Meyer Jul 14 '09 at 2:06
    
always happens to me , i don't think it a problem. the explanation eludes me. it could be because it thinks the partition is one size but is now another, so it checks to see if something is messed up. –  iloveboxcutters Jul 14 '09 at 6:04

I recommend the Parted Magic CD. I've found it to be a VERY good all-in-one package for things of this sort:

You can download a free copy from their website:

http://partedmagic.com

From the website:

The Parted Magic OS employs core programs of GParted and Parted to handle partitioning tasks with ease, while featuring other useful programs (e.g. Partition Image, TestDisk, fdisk, sfdisk, dd, and ddrescue) and an excellent set of documentation to benefit the user. An extensive collection of fileystem tools are also included, as Parted Magic supports the following: ext2, ext3, ext4, fat16, fat32, hfs, hfs+, jfs, linux-swap, ntfs, reiserfs, reiser4, and xfs.

Parted Magic requires at least a PII processor and 400MB of RAM to operate or 128MB in "Live" mode.

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What about a GParted LiveCD? If you have to reboot to not be running off the target drive anyway, why do you care if it runs on Windows?

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Good point, although I often partition external drives or secondary drives that can be unmounted, repartitioned, and remounted without rebooting. –  Nick Meyer Jul 13 '09 at 2:12

When it comes to stable and safe I'd go for the built-in tools for each OS. For Windows that's diskpart that can shrink and extend partitions as far as I know, though it's obviously limited in what it can do to the boot volume unless you boot say Windows PE from a disc and run it (=boot install media and bring forth a command prompt, ctrl/shift f10 or something).

For Linux or general use I'd agree with GParted - it hasn't bricked anything for me yet including some complicated NTFS+HFS+EXT3 partitioned disks, but it does fail at completing tasks at times, not doing any obvious harm though (yet ^^)...

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Look at Paragon Software products. I've been using Paragon Hard Disk Manager Professional and it works fine.

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+1: I've found Paragon's toolset reliable - Drive Manager has got me out of trouble more than once. –  Kramii Mar 24 '10 at 11:55

Add another vote for Gparted (Open Source). There are a number of commercial alternatives but I've heard no compelling reason to use them.

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If you are performing operations on Windows Dynamic Disks (you only get them with Windows server OS's) then be extremely careful. Most partitioning & resizing software is OK with basic disks but useless with Dynamic.

Even Server Magic (a version of the proprietary "read $$$" Partition Magic disk partition software made specifically for Windows Servers) does not really support volumes that are RAIDED or extensible by Dynamic Disk.

If you are trying to do anything with dynamic disk, see if you can first convert them back to basic disk under Windows (which may not be possible anyway) before using any partition utilities.

Also be aware that partition imaging/cloning software (like Ghost or PartImage) are similarly hobbled in dealing with dynamic disk. If you find yourself stuck with a RAIDed dynamic disk, about all that you could trust is to back-up the disk to a file using NTBACKUP, onto another drive (like an external USB drive) and then you at least can restore if everything falls apart.

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the clonezilla CD is worth a look too. it's got the same partitioning tools as the other linux-based live-CDs, plus it's got some reasonable wrapper scripts for cloning disks and partitions....kind of like ghost, but more powerful and harder to use. and free.

http://www.clonezilla.org/

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