Easeus Partition Master Review Grange-over-Sands
Easeus Partition Master Review
It’s a good feeling to have a nice big hard disk, but sometimes you don’t want to dedicate it all to one operating system or one type of data. That’s no problem: a hard disk can be divided up into multiple partitions, each of which behaves like an independent drive.
Multiple partitions make it easy to keep your personal data separate from system files, and they can help if you want to install multiple operating systems: for example, let’s say you want to try out the Release Candidate of Windows 7 on your computer, while keeping your trusty Windows XP installation available as a fallback. It’s a simple matter of carving up your drive into two partitions, one with all your XP files on and another pristine and empty ready for you to install Windows 7. The OS installer helpfully provides a boot menu, so you can choose which partition you want to boot from, and each operating system will see its own partition as “C:”, with the other one showing up as “D:”.
Partition management software has been available for more than a decade, and Easeus Partition Master Professional Edition is a relative newcomer to the field. But if you’ve used a package like this before, you’ll be right at home: the interface is almost identical to those of existing applications such as Paragon Partition Manager and Acronis Disk Director, with a list of operations down the side and existing partitions displayed as both a list and a map in the main pane. It doesn’t show quite as much up-front detail as Paragon’s offering, but all the key information is here.
Creating a partition is as simple as selecting a blank area of hard disk (in either the list or map view) and dragging a slider to select how much space you want your new partition to occupy. If the disk’s already full, you can shrink down an existing partition to create some more space: once again, you can simply drag a slider to choose what size you want it to end up, or type in values if you want to be precise.
Operations don’t take place immediately: when you confirm an operation it goes into a queue, and isn’t executed until you hit “apply”. Until then you can undo your changes at any time. Many operations – such as resizing a partition – need exclusive access to the hard disk, so you may have to restart the computer and wait a few minutes until Windows comes back up with its new disk configuration.
Those are the basics, but Partition Master has a few more tricks as well. Naturally, partitions can be deleted as well as created, and expanded as well as shrunk (so if you do decide to switch fully to Windows 7, you can erase your XP partition and expand the Windows 7 one to occupy your whole disk).
One nice – and unexpected – feature is the ability to copy a partition from one disk to another, or to duplicate an entire disk onto a new drive. You can thus easily upgrade to a new hard disk by simply cloning your old system across. And you can, of course, resize the partition at the same time, to get the benefit of a larger disk.
You can also create a bootable CD to run the program from outside of Windows – helpful, perhaps, if you’re setting up a new PC. Partitions can be converted between FAT and NTFS formats, should you need to do such a thing. And, oddly, you can lock the program with a password – just in case you’re scared someone will come along and repartition your drives in your absence.
Although Partition Master does its job perfectly well, we have reservations. The first is a simple matter of presentation: for various displays in the program, Easeus has chosen a strange mono-spaced font which looks ugly and unprofessional. The help files look like they’ve been badly translated too, with ropey grammar and odd phrasing.
More fundamentally, though, a lot of what Partition Master Professional Edition does can be achieved in Windows without the need for third party software. Since Windows XP you’ve been able to create and delete partitions from the Disk Management console, and Vista added the ability to expand and shrink partitions – which for most everyday purposes is all you need. If need be, you can even rearrange and expand partitions as part of the Windows Vista and Windows 7 install process (though shrinking isn’t supported).
And if you need to duplicate a partition or an entire disk, you can always use the free Home Edition of Partition Master – so long as it’s for personal use, of course. 64-bit systems aren’t supported, though, and you don’t get the bootable media builder.
Lastly, if you do want to buy a commercial partition management package, this isn’t the most capable option. For around £4 more you can get either Acronis Disk Director or Paragon Partition Manager. Acronis’ suite adds a disk editor, a boot manager and a recovery tool for rescuing partitions you’ve accidentally deleted, while Paragon’s has the useful ability to create image files of your partitions and restore them later.
For those reasons we’d recommend you think carefully before investing in Easeus Partition Master Professional Edition. It certainly does what it promises, but in most cases you’ll be better off either sticking with free alternatives or paying a little extra to move up to one of its more versatile rivals.
Author: Darien Graham-Smith