There is no doubt that the disk management applet in Windows is more than capable to handle simple drive-related jobs. However, for more elaborate tasks, such as moving a partition to a different location on the hard disk or creating more than 6 drives on a disk or copying the contents of a disk or partition to a different location, third party tools are a real godsend.
Aomei Partition Assistant
fits the above description. It comes in three editions, Home
, the first one being available free of charge. The Professional edition is also currently free to use as part of our giveaway agreement with the developer.
However, the differences between the two currently free releases are minimal, since these include only support for 64-bit OS and permission to be used by business users for the Professional one. The regular price for the paid product is $29.
Aomei Partition Assistant Professional Edition comes with an intuitive interface, similar to what EASEUS makes available in their partition manager. You’ll have access to the application’s functions both from the upper part of the screen as well as from the drive map, by right-clicking on the desired drive directly.
The set of options accompanying the program cover all the basic needs for slicing your disk into as many pieces as you want. Also available in the left side menu are choices for formatting and deleting a partition or checking it for errors (relies on Windows’ “check disk” utility) and bad sectors.
Another feature in Partition Assistant from Aomei is wiping clean the drive of any data residing on it. Unfortunately, during all our tests the data was not the only thing cleared, but the partition itself as well and it would be turned into unallocated space.
Testing this kind of software we’ve grown accustomed to not having to restart the computer unless one of the jobs involves the system drive. Aomei Partition Assistant follows the same paradigm making it easy to resize the drives online. The process does not take long to complete and you will see the progress of the job in real-time.
In order to appeal to the largest audience possible the application makes available a set of wizards to help beginner users with three tasks: copying a disk to another one or copy a partition to another one or to a chunk of unallocated space and thus create a new drive. The third wizard guides you through the process of extending a partition.
However, if you choose the more direct way for these jobs you’ll find that the level of difficulty is minimal. Upsizing a drive requires unallocated space at one end, otherwise downsizing it is the only option. You can type in the values yourself for more accurate trimming or you can simply drag by the ends of the drive.
Moving it to a new location on the disk is just a matter of drag and drop into the new position, either from “Move and Resize Partition” screen or from the drive map upon selecting your target. Unallocated space is, of course, a requirement. Although we did not face data loss during our testing of both “resize” and “move” options, the developer recommends backing up important data before proceeding.
We noticed some weird behavior when testing “resize” and “move” options. We would set the new size of the drive and upon moving it in front of some unallocated space the value would change in the “Move and Resize Partition” window. The workaround was to move the drive straight from the drive map and then access the window for doing the resize. The inconsistency occurred only in the case of the system drive.
Just like other software of the same feather, Aomei Partition Assistant applies all the modifications at once. These are available in the “Pending Operations” section of the side panel. You can review them and start the process only when you are sure that is what you want to do. Discarding the modifications will cause all commands to be removed; the same will happen if you try to refresh the drive map (F5). On the upside, hitting Ctrl+Z (undo) will roll back the pending operations one by one.
Additional possibilities in the application include changing the letter of a drive, setting it as active (in case you want to boot from a different one) or covert it to NTFS from either FAT or FAT32, as these are all drive types it supports. Also on the list is checking the drive for bad sectors. The Good
The simple set of options and features make it extremely easy to use even for beginners. It allows you to copy the disk or partition to a different location as backup in order to eliminate any sort of mishaps.
Resizing and moving partitions are simple operations that can be completed both by typing in the values yourself for greater accuracy as well as dragging by the drive picture for rough estimates.
The application offers the possibility to remove operations in the pending list one by one by simply hitting Ctrl+Z key combo. The Bad
During our case “wipe” operation deleted the drive along with the data on it. We encountered trouble moving and resizing the system drive as the set values would not stick.
The offline screen (PreOS mode) could be improved visually, but as long as the job is carried out without any incidents this is definitely not a concern. The Truth
Aomei offers a $29 Partition Assistant that did a poor job wiping the data on our test drives and made us to look for a workaround in order to have the system drive moved and sized our way. Apart from this it is a sturdy application home users can rely on.