MiniTool Partition Wizard Professional 8.1.1 review

Partition Wizard Professional 8.1.1

There's quite a bit of choice when it comes to partitioning tools for the Windows PC, but one we hadn't come across until now is MiniTools Partition Wizard Professional, now in version 8.1.1. That's Wizard in the sense of somebody who can work magic, rather than a step-by-step, single-task Windows tool. (See all software utilities reviews.)

The main working window in the program looks much like those in the better known applications, from the likes of Acronis or Paragon. There's a menu bar along the top, a toolbox down the left-hand side and the rest of the screen showing details of the drives the software has found on your system, with indications of capacity, current use and drive stats.

The screen is particularly clean and tidy, although most of the actual work is done through a series of wizards – this time we do mean the step-by-step single-task Windows tools. (See all PC Advisor software downloads.)

MiniTool Partition Wizard Professional 8.1.1 review: basic functions

All the basic functions are covered, like moving and resizing partitions, but there's also split and merge partitions, and you can copy a partition to a different drive – useful when migrating to a new device. You can extend a partition to take up free space in a single step, too.

MiniTools Partition Wizard supports Windows Dynamic disks and can convert from dynamic to basic types without data loss. You can also explore a partition, although this is really just to check you're working on the right one. It shows a folder and file tree, but you can't perform operations at this level.

Functions like merge and split used to be a rarity in partition managers, but they're both here and worked well to restructure a hard drive. We would have expected to be able to select the drive to work on before invoking the Merge Wizard, but the software takes no notice of what's selected in the main screen, displays all valid drives and automatically selects drive 1. So you have to be on your guard to select the desired drive in the wizard.

MiniTool Partition Wizard Professional 8.1.1 review: useful extras

Other useful extras include an integrated run of CHKDSK to check the filing system, a disk surface scan and a secure disk wipe, including quick wipes and US Department of Defense 3-pass and 7-pass overwriting modes.

To give an idea of performance, a surface scan of a 100 GB partition took us 31 min 22 sec, while a realignment to align the partition with disk sector boundaries and improve disk access times, took 2 min 10 sec. Splitting the partition in two (75/25) took 43 sec and merging the partitions together again took 26 sec. These are all very fair times, given the amount of processing involved and the 250 GB SATA drive used for the test.

Like most partition managers, Partition Wizard uses a pending queue, so the operations you set up are all enacted in one go, when you finally give it the go-ahead. This speeds the setup of multiple tasks and provides an extra level of security, as tasks can be reviewed before final application.

The software will also create a bootable CD, so you can get at all the functions of Partition Wizard even when Windows won't start. (See all software utilities reviews.)

Partition Wizard Professional 8.1.1

Partition Wizard Professional 8.1.1: Specs

  • Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8
  • Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8

OUR VERDICT

MiniTool Partition Wizard Professional 8.8.1 should really be up with the main names in partition management. It offers quick and easy control of all the essential partition tasks you might need to undertake on your drives (but watch which drive you're merging partitions on). It's substantially cheaper than most of its competition and a more basic, Home, version is available for free too.