[Windows] AOMEI Partition Assistant is an excellent partition and drive management tool

2013-02-02_220457Need to install another operating system on your computer? Want a separate partition to hold your important files? Whatever your specific needs for partition management may be, AOMEI Partition Assistant will get the job done.

WHAT IS IT AND WHAT DOES IT DO

Main Functionality

AOMEI Partition Assistant is a fully-featured partition and drive management program.

Take note AOMEI Partition Assistant comes in two versions, Home and Pro. Home is the free version (free for home and business use) that has most all the features of Pro except for a few. Pro is, obviously, the paid version. AOMEI Dynamic Disk Manager, on the other hand, does not have a usable free version — it is paid only.

Pros

  • Can do all the basics of partition management: create, delete, format, extend, shrink, resize, move, merge, and split partitions
  • In addition to the basics, has the ability to:
    • Allocate free space
    • Copy disk or partition to different disk or new partition (sector-by-sector copy [aka clone] or just copy existing data)
    • Modify partition name and/or letter
    • Wipe partition or disk
    • Wipe unallocated space
    • Test disk for errors
    • Rebuild MBR
    • View properties of a disk or partition
    • Hide or unhide partition
    • Convert partition from logical to primary and vice versa
    • Set partition as active
    • Convert FAT/FAT32 partitions or drives to NTFS
    • Migrate from HDD to SSD and vice versa
    • Ability to recover lost partitions
  • Supports NTFS, FAT, FAT32, ext2, and ext3 filesystems
  • Supports MBR and GPT disks of up to 2TB and 4TB in size, respectively
  • Supports all types of drives: internal, external, removable, flash, memory cards, USB 1.0/2.0, IDE, SATA, SSD, SCSI, FireWire, and SAS
  • Supports hardware RAID
  • Supports creation of WinPE (4.0) bootable CD/DVD/USB drive
  • Can automatically shutdown computer after operation has completed
  • Works in ‘virtual mode’ meaning all changes you make are not automatically applied; you need to explicitly click ‘Apply’ to apply all modifications. This helps avoid “oops did I really just do that” type mistakes
  • Works with UEFI/EFI boot
  • Has free and paid versions

Cons

  • Partition alignment, modifying serial number, modifying partition type, and converting between MBR and GPT disks are only available in the paid Pro version
    • (FYI: Most people have MBR disks – because it is the default way Windows is setup – and don’t need to mess with converting between MBR and GPT.)
  • Free version of AOMEI Partition Assistant only supports basic disks — does not support dynamic disks. Pro version of AOMEI Partition Assistant has some functions that work with dynamic disks — such as converting dynamic disk to basic disk without losing data and copying dynamic disk to basic disk — but you need to purchase AOMEI Dynamic Disk Manager if you want to full-features that work with dynamic disks. (The freeware version of AOMEI Dynamic Disk Manager is crippleware, so don’t be fooled by that.)
    • (FYI: Most people are on basic disks. If you are unsure, then you are on a basic disk because that is how Windows is by default. You would know if you changed to dynamic disk.)
  • Doesn’t appear to support USB 3.0 drives (I don’t have a USB 3.0 so I cannot test this, but the developer does not list support for USB 3.0 drives)
    • (FYI: Most people don’t need to worry about lack of USB 3.0 support because most drives are still on USB 1.0/2.0 standard and most USB 3.0 drives are backwards compatible. So the lack of USB 3.0 should be a non-issue.)
  • Only has support for WinPE bootable disc/USB — no Linux-based
  • Does not support Server versions of Windows. There is a separate freeware AOMEI Partition Assistant Lite that works on Windows Server but that program is fairly useless. You need to purchase AOMEI Partition Assistant Server if you want server support.
  • Has an ad inside the program for AOMEI Data Backuper, a freeware backup program
  • Does not have the ability to modify cluster size on partitions without formatting whole partitions

Discussion

As you can see from the ‘Pros’ list above, AOMEI Partition Assistant is an excellent partition and disk management tool and offers pretty much all features the average user would need to manage their drives and partitions. What sets AOMEI apart from the competition is two things:

  • Firstly, AOMEI Partition Assistant comes with the ability to create WinPE bootable CD/DVD/USB drive. This bootable media allows users to run AOMEI Partition Assistant without having to boot into Windows, which is extremely useful not only when you cannot boot into Windows but if you want to mitigate the risk of data loss vis-a-vis partitioning. (Modifying partitions and data is always more safe when done without booting into Windows than while inside Windows.)
  • Secondly, AOMEI Partition Assistant’s free version is is true freeware. In other words, AOMEI Partition Assistant Home is free for all types of users, home and business.

That said, however, AOMEI Partition Assistant’s strength is also its greatest weakness. You see having the ability to create WinPE bootable media is great (excellent, in fact). The issue, however, is there is no support to create Linux-based. Now, I know what you must be thinking: “Ashraf, why would anyone need Linux-based when the program offers WinPE-based?” The reason is Windows Automated Installation Kit.

You see, for some computers, you must have Windows Automated Installation Kit installed in order to create the WinPE bootable. (This isn’t an issue with AOMEI Partition Assistant itself but rather a requirement for WinPE in general.) Although the latest v5.5 of AOMEI Partition Assisstant claims you don’t need Windows Automated Installation Kit, I’ve found this isn’t always true. Why? I really don’t know. all I know is when I installed AOMEI Partition Assistant v5.5, it still asked for Windows Automated Installation Kit.

The issue with Windows Automated Installation Kit is, Windows Automated Installation Kit is a 1.7 GB download, if you don’t have it already. If Linux-based bootable was supported in addition to WinPE, people who didn’t want to download Windows Automated Installation Kit could use Linux-based bootable instead. Sure Linux-based bootable media probably wouldn’t have been able to have all the features of AOMEI Partition Assistant like WinPE-based bootable does, but it could have *most* of the features which would be enough for most people.

CONCLUSION AND DOWNLOAD LINK

Overall, despite the lack of Linux-based bootable, AOMEI Partition Assistant is an excellent partition manager… especially considering there is a freeware version that is feature filled. It is a pity that you must purchase a separate program for full dynamic disk support, even if you purchase AOMEI Partition Assistant Pro, but that is the price you pay for having a feature-filled always-free version available. If you need partition management, AOMEI Partition Assistant is an excellent option. Also, be sure to check out dotTech’s review on Best Free Partition Manager for Windows!

Price: ‘Partitions Assistant Home’ is free, ‘Partition Assistant Pro’ is $36

Version reviewed: v5.5

Supported OS: Windows 2000 Pro/XP/Vista/Win7/Win8 (32-bit and 64-bit) | There are separate versions of Windows Server

Download size: 3.4 MB and higher

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/46 (Home)

Is it portable? No

AOMEI Partition Assistant homepage

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21 comments

  1. Frank D

    [@Ernie Bell] Thanks for for your advice, but I have EaseUS Partition Master with its WinPE Bootable Disc from another giveaway, and its disc works. So I’m not going to pursue this particular AOMEI giveaway. However, I appreciate your suggestions.

  2. Ernie Bell

    [@Frank D] Don’t give up without trying to create a new boot disk. I have this software on my 64 bit Win7 HomePremium laptop and the program works fine, both from the bootable disk and from inside my running Windows OS. If you have access to another computer try booting your AOMEI disk on it. If it works then problem has something to do with your system. If it doesn’t then its likely that it got corrupted in making disk from the image or the iso image download got corrupted. In that case make a new bootable AOMEI PA Pro disk. It should work.
    In regard to your PS — I agree with the advice to “not to work on partitions from inside a running Windows”. That is the ‘best practice’ , BUT you can run AOMEI PA from your running Windows OS, if you want to do so. Its just better to do it from a bootable CD running the WinPE environment.

  3. Frank D

    Sorry to say that the boot disc did NOT work for me. Using Win7 64-bit, I successfully created the CD as directed. When I rebooted my PC with the disc in the drive, the progress bar reached about 95% of the way and then stopped for about 5 minutes, after which a message said something about not using a USB device while it was loading. I thought this meant I had touched the keyboard or the mouse, so I repeated the procedure — with the same results. After trying this three more times, during which there were numerous other technically oriented error messages, I gave up.

    Without the boot disc and the useful features on it, this program loses about half of its value. It’s still a great software, but I have no use for its main features at the moment, and without a reliable, working boot disc, its utility for me is nil.

    P.S. I just read in one of the posts above that one should not work on partitions from within a running Windows. Considering this advice, this really puts the “kibosh” on this software for me. Will uninstall.

  4. TerryB

    I wonder of this programme will allow shrinking and expanding partitions from either side.
    All the ones I’ve tried seem to let me shrink or grow a partition on only one side, so I can’t shrink a partition on the right side, then expand the adjacent one left in to it.

  5. Roger

    Flash!
    I’m back with more info about the little partition I mentioned above.
    Understand (and Get Rid of) the Mysterious Small Partition.htm
    The partition was generated by Win7 which had been installed on that drive previously.
    The link has instructions to remove it.

  6. Roger

    When Win8 was released last fall I bought it and tried to install. I wound up with a bad download (???) and a small 200-300mb partition on the HDD.
    I started a cleanup process to try again but couldn’t get rid of that small partition. After trying everything I could find I ran across AOMEI and ZAP! It was gone.
    If you have the problem this app may solve it?

  7. Ghenghis McCann

    Although AOMEI Partition Assistant Pro doesn’t come with a Linux based bootable disk, if you go to the website and go to download AOMEI Backupper, you’ll find an option to download AOMEI Backupper Linux Bootable Disc. It seems a bit strange to offer it with one product and not the other.

  8. GIovanni

    Hey Ashraf!

    Just a question for you: why did you consider the lack of Linux Boot Disk support a CONS?

    Of course WinPE bootable disc/USB requires “Windows AIK kit” to work properly, but if you use VISTA/7/8 as OS usually you can directly create a Windows PE bootable CD without installing Windows AIK.

    So maybe it can be considered a CONS only if you use XP or other OS, because LINUX BOOT DISK has several drawbacks when compared to WinPe (for instance it doesn’t support hardware RAID and cannot perform any Disk and partition backup).

    See here for more info:

    http://www.aomeitech.com/features/create-bootable-disc.html

    As for BEST FREE ALTERNATIVES I recommend you including this brand new product (besides PARTED MAGIC):

    http://www.pcdisk.com

    As far as I’m concerned this is actually the only freeware partition manager out there perfectly working on SD cards. So it should not be ignored!

  9. Rob (Down Under)

    I had a quick look on my hard drive to see if I can find what frightened me off (aka no bootable CD) it might have been this –
    http://www.disk-partition.com/compare-edition.html
    I just had another look at that web page, and switched on my ‘cross hair’ utility.
    I now notice that the Tick is not directly on a line, and possibly is meant to say ‘everything as far as the eye can vertically see is covered by this one tick’
    If that is the case, then you are correct.
    Someone should warn them that that lazy single tick to cover many lines, can easily fool the elderly and the feeble minded.

  10. Rob (Down Under)

    Glarysoft is today giving away the Pro version (which presumably allows creation of a bootable CD (WHICH I BELIEVE IS A MUST).
    Here is a link –
    AOMEI Partition Assistant Pro Edition 5.1.2
    http://giveaway.glarysoft.com/aomeipartitionassistantproedition5.1.2-130/
    18 hours left.
    There are a few comments, and you will notice mine, where I have asked which version to install.
    The downloaded EXE from Glarysoft is 5147 KB
    When you request your Serial Key, there is also a download link for the program in the email. It’s EXE size is 3767 KB
    If any of you install either of those could you report back on the Glarysoft comments, or report back here (if Ashraf doesn’t mind ?)

  11. Rob (Down Under)

    @tekknokat:
    Regarding external drives. here are the rules I now live with –
    – Don’t use 2.5″ drives as they are less reliable than 3.5″ drives
    – Don’t use external drives in enclosures.
    (Get Docks instead. You shove the drive vertically into it, and much of it remains visible.)
    – Don’t use Western Digital, as some of their drives do not follow standard physical layout
    – Don’t get bigger than 2TB drives. That size happens to be the sweet spot for price. And there are other considerations.
    – Make sure that your dock can handle 2TB (many have a 1.5TB limit)
    – Get a dock with eSata and USB. However if your PC has USB3, I suppose that would suffice, instead.
    – Have at least 2 docks, and alternate your backups (AND IMAGES) into those.
    – Don’t be stingy by using less Docks than you need. It is not recommended (by me), to be shoving drives in and out of your docks, as I worry about the connectors suffering.
    – Get the free Seagate Disc Wizard program, running from a bootable CD, to do regular (alternating) images of your main partition.

  12. tekknokat

    Since my AMD Phenom computer failed in mid-November, and my backup 1.5TB USB backup Drive a few months before that, I lost all of my Giveaway of the Day freebies of Easus Partition Manager, and Paragon’s Partition app as well, I forget the name of it. I figured since I just had to borrow money to buy a new desktop computer and a backup drive, I would try out this freebie today. Otherwise I would buy Easus Partition Manager since that one was very easy to use, (self explanatory), and saved my behind at least once when a partition would not show up in Windows Explorer. it was an external USB Hard Disk Drive that unexpectedly lost it’s letter assignment in my installation of Windows 7. I sometimes wonder if one of my applications confused my operating system or Windows Explorer, because I had two internal hard drives on that computer, one was configured at the factory to run Windows Vista x64, and I installed Windows 7 Ultimate x64 on the other drive, and each Operating System gave the USB drive a different letter. (I didn’t realize that the computer came with 2 hard drives to set up a RAID configuration, I didn’t even know what RAID was when I first bought that computer so, no RAID for this dum-dum lol) It was shortly after I installed Windows 7 that the Win 7 OS couldn’t see my hard drive (although it did for awhile), but Easus Partition Manager found it and assigned a letter to it for me, (which made the USB drive reappear in My Computer under Windows Explorer), and I have appreciated having a Partition Manager ever since.

    Well, after I installed AOEMI Partition Assistant Professional Edition 5.1, I could not see my USB drive. (In the application only – I can see it in Windows.) I checked the Help File in PDF format, and the introduction explained that Partition Assistant could manage partitions on flash drives, USB drives, Firewire Drives, ie, not merely the hard drive already installed on your computer. Could this application not see my hard drive because at 2.5TB it is larger than what it automatically seeks for? This hard drive shows up under My Computer, but I can’t get Partition Assistant to see it?

  13. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Rob (Down Under): Yeah, check out Best Free Partition Manager review. It should help answer some of your questions.
    @Marc: While I disagree that USB 3.0 shouldn’t be a concern of AOMEI, I do agree with @kc4cop: that lack of USB 3.0 support isn’t that big of a deal. As suggested, I’ve updated the review to reflect this sentiment. Thanks guys!
    @kc4cop: Thanks, glad you like our review :-)

  14. kc4cop

    Marc:

    I must agree with you that failure to include USB 3.0 is a non-issue when evaluating “AOMEI Partition Assistant”. I have several purchased partition and disk management programs installed on my computer. None of the partition and disk management programs that I have purchased or picked up free along the way support USB 3.0. The above review may be the first time that I have seen USB 3.0 mentioned in an evaluation of the of a disk partitioning and managing program.

    Ashraf kindly mentioned some utilities not supplied with the AOMEI program (actually being furnished as a set of two programs on the giveawayoftheday.com site) as being not needed by the average or common user of these types of programs. Perhaps he should append his evaluation and mentioned the rarity of USB 3.0 and the fact that it is probably not included on most users’ computers. I have never seen a portable USB 3.0 drive even though I’ve looked for one locally in Nashville, Tennessee.

    The evaluation(s) given above for the “AOMEI Partition Assistant” are the most complete write ups of any partitioning program that I’ve seen.

  15. Marc

    My take on USB 3.0 support is that this is a standard that operates at a lower stack level than they need be concerned about. Whether USB is transferring at speed x or speed 10x is not their concern and has no effect on their software’s operation.

  16. Rob (Down Under)

    Assuming that most of us like to keep things simple (No dynamic discs EG RAID), and don’t need these features –
    Partition Alignment
    Change serial number
    Change partition type
    Convert between MBR and GPT disk
    Then I reckon the Free Home version is the way to go ?
    My one rule is to never do partitioning (or imaging) from a running Windows. IE always use a bootable CD. It appears that both the Free and the Pro versions are both capable of making a bootable CD. Is that your understanding ?
    I concede that MS don’t know how to keep things simple, and I have previously shied away from using their ‘Windows Automated Installation Kit’.
    . . .
    On this page –
    http://www.disk-partition.com/features/make-bootable-cd.html
    AOMEI says –
    “AOMEI Partition Assistant added the feature of creating bootable CD wizard which allows you to create bootable CD or USB flash drive in a few click only. You will not worry about the situation of OS crash any more.”
    If you are correct (and I don’t doubt you are), then AOMEI should mention that ‘minor’ detail on that web page.

    Methinks I will check out your parallel page – “Best free partition and disk manager . . .”