Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
Wizard of Disk Partitioning
by Alan German
Do you need
to modify the partitions on your hard disk? Well, you
could use the Disk Management tool available in Windows
if you can find it (Hint, look under Control Panel
System and Maintenance Administrative
Tools). However, (a) you will also have to figure out how
to use it, and (b) hope that it has all the features that
An alternative is to use a third-party partition manager.
One such program, that comes out of Vancouver, BC, is
MiniTool Partition Wizard. The Home Edition is freeware,
whilst its bigger brother, the Professional Edition,
retails for US $39.00. For most home users, the free
version may well be sufficient. The professional version
adds features such as support for dynamic disks, merging
partitions, and changing cluster size.
The program sports a colourful
graphical user interface which displays the structure of
all the available disk drives. Click on a partition on
any given drive and a set of prominent icons is displayed
that can be used to access major operations such as
resizing the partition or changing its label (see
My first test of the software was conservative. Having
made a full disk image of my main hard drive, I resized
the 8 GB data partition, making it smaller and leaving 1
GB of unallocated space. A check, with FreeFileSync,
showed that all of the files on the data partition were
intact following the operation.
My next task was I thought to merge the
unallocated space back into the adjacent data partition.
One interesting aspect of the merge process (available in
the Professional Edition), is that the operation is only
for NTFS partitions. For example, if one partition is
formatted as FAT, it must first be converted to NTFS, and
then merged with the second NTFS partition. I guess that
this was sort of my problem. The unallocated space (a)
wasnt formatted at all, because (b) it wasnt
There are two solutions to this problem. One
is to simply resize the data partition and expand it to
use the unallocated space (which could also be done with
the Home Edition). The second option is to create a 1 GB
NTFS partition and then merge this into the data
partition. I chose the second option mainly to see
how the merge process worked. The only oddity was that
the contents of the (empty) 1 GB partition
were copied to a folder on the data drive. So, I ended up
with my 8 GB data partition restored, but now with an
empty folder that I just deleted in order to tidy things
I suppose I could (should?) have read the help file that
is included with the program before jumping in to modify
my system but, thats no fun! But, seriously,
there is a lot of reading in the help system, and this is
accompanied by colourful and clear screenshots that show
exactly how things work. You can also find some more
limitations of the software here. For example, Linux
users should note that the program will move ext2 or ext3
partitions, but does not support resizing partitions in
MiniTool ran fine on machines using both Vista and
Windows 7. The developers indicate that it also supports
Windows 8. I had recently acquired an Asus Transformer
Book T100 (a two-in-one hybrid computer) running Windows
8. MiniTool failed to load on this system with the error
message: Failed to load disk access driver.
My T100 is equipped with a 64 GB eMMC solid-state hard
drive. Since this is a fairly new type of SSD, I think
the problem is that MiniTool doesn't have support for
this specific hardware. The problem was confirmed by Jeff
Dubois who couldn't get MiniTool to load on a 32 GB
version of the T100. However, Jeff did confirm that
MiniTool runs fine under Windows 8 on more conventional
hardware. So, while MiniTool will indeed run under
Windows 8, if you try to do this on a T100, you may be
out of luck until the software is updated.
However, for the rest of the people on the planet,
MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition supports a huge
range of disk/partition options including format
conversion, support for GPT, MBR and UEFI, the ability to
resize, move, split, or re-label disk partitions, copying
of disks or partitions, recovery from partition table
damage. All this and more and all for free. What
more could you ask for?
Partition Wizard Home Edition (Freeware)
MiniTool Solution Ltd.
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Copyright and Usage
Ottawa Personal Computer Users' Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON K2G 1S6
opinions expressed in these reviews do not necessarily
represent the views of the OPCUG or its members.
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