When a product has been around for many different versions, it is often hard
for the programmers to come up with enough new features to make the upgrades
worthwhile. I've reviewed several Paragon
Software Group products in the past, and have always been impressed with
them, but I wondered how the new Paragon
Partition Manager 8 could be any better than the last version. I was quite
impressed by Partition
Manager 7 and still use the recover CD whenever I need to do some tweaking.
After using Partition
Manager 8 for a while, and testing both the installed version as well as
the recovery CD, I can say that it is definitely a worthy upgrade.
The install was as simple as it was for version 7. There is both a Windows-based
application, as well as a recovery CD. The programs were quick
and easy to download as well as to install. As I try to do when I'm testing
programs, I installed the application with the default options, and then after
a very quick installation, I was prompted to reboot.
The recovery CD is created by running the executable. It then burns the CD
for you so that you don't have to worry about an ISO image. However, I did
notice that if you use an unzip program (I used WinZip), you can extract the
ISO yourself and then burn it using your preferred burning program.
The system that the software was installed on was a Dell Inspiron 8100 laptop.
It has a 40 GB hard drive with a 20 GB primary partition and a 20 GB extended
partition. The primary partition was almost full, and the extended partition
was almost empty.
There are no surprises when you use the software. If you have used any of the
competing partition managing products on the market, then you'll be able to
use Paragon Partition
Manager 8.0 Professional. The interface is slick, with features that both
the beginner and the power user will be able to use. The software interface
has a main pane where you see a diagram of your hard drive(s). Below that is
a listing of the various partitions on that hard drive. Below that is yet another
diagram showing you the partition layout and the space usage.
can access the various operations from either the menu at the top of the window,
or by right-clicking on the partition that you want to modify. I right-clicked
on the extended partition, and tried to resize it to 1 GB, with the free space
at the end of the partition. However when I tried to apply the changes, I received
an error. As far as I knew, everything was fine, but I still tried to run chkdsk,
and sure enough there were cross-indexed files. I tried to fix it, and after
rebooting, I was able to modify the partition. This process may seem like a
minor note, but it is very important. If software like this tried to modify
a damaged partition, you could lose everything. I was impressed that the software
checked for errors first.
The resize of that extended partition took about 15 minutes long. I was surprised
that it took this long, but it will be affected by a variety of factors such
as system speed, hard drive speed, etc. I then ran the "Redistribute Free
Space Wizard" on the primary partition. This process lets you specify how
you want the space allocated on your system, and it performs whatever modifications
need to be done in order to accomplish this. Since this is the system drive,
it was in use, so the software rebooted into a kind of DOS mode to perform this
function. The whole process took about 14 minutes. When it booted back into
windows, Windows XP detected that a new device had been added and rebooted again.
When it came back up everything was changed as I had requested.
As you can see by the screenshot on the left, there are quite a few different
operations that can be performed on a partition. You can create, format or delete
a partition. You can also move/resize a partition, along with several other
more advanced features. A bonus feature that I wasn't expecting was the ability
to defragment your partition and the Master File Table (MFT). Note that I was
unable to test every feature for this review.
Another interesting feature in the software is the Volume Explorer. This is
similar to Windows Explorer in that you can browse your hard drives. The big
difference is that you are browsing the structure of the hard drive. You are
able to see the regular files and folders that you would see in Windows Explorer,
but you are also able to see files that your operating doesn't show. You can
see inside the System Volume Information folder (which Windows never lets you
see) You can also see several files that start with a dollar sign ($). You can
see that there is boot information, the MFT and more. You really shouldn't do
anything with these files unless you know exactly what you're doing.
The Recovery CD is excellent. I am partial to this sort of utility. It appears
to do everything that the Windows application does, but you don't need to actually
install anything. You just boot the system from the recovery CD and you are
presented with several options. You can run Partition Manager 8.0, File Transfer
Wizard, Boot Corrector, Network Configurator, and View the mounted partitions.
You would most often use the Partition Manager. As I said, as far as I can
tell, it does everything that the Windows software does.