For the longest time Paragon Software products has been associated with shareware software only. In other words, unless you were lucky enough to find a product by Paragon Software via a promotion (such as GOTD, freebie, etc.), you would have to shell out cash to make use of their (usually) terrific programs. However, recently it seems like the head-honchos at Paragon are taking note of the value freewares can add to a company; thus freeware products from Paragon Software were born (they aren’t *totally* freeware because they are available for “non-commercial use only”). I have already reviewed one such product from Paragon, Backup & Restore Free Edition. Now I would like to shed some light on Paragon Partition Manager Free Edition, the free version of Paragon’s world renowned Partition Manager.
Paragon’s software, particularly the partition managers, are known for their “bells and whistles”. In other words, they tend to have more features than beyond just the necessary partition management tools. Paragon Partition Manager Free Edition – available as v2010 at the time of this writing and hereon referred to as “PPM FE” because I really don’t want to keep typing such a long name – can be thought of as the stripped-down version of Paragon’s commercial Partition Manager (Professional Edition | Personal Edition); in other words, PPM FE offers the main core partition management features and lacks the “bells and whistles”. More specifically, here is a chart that provides you with detailed insight on what PPM FE offers and what it does not:
(Click on chart to view it in full size.)
(Take note that the chart states that PPM FE comes with a “Boot Manager” – and there is an option in the program to “launch a boot manager” [the boot manager never launches]. The only problem is PPM FE cannot create any bootable media, so the “Boot Manager” – or lack thereof – is useless.)
As the chart explains, PPM FE can do the basics: create/format, delete, move/resize, copy, and defrag partitions. Of course PPM FE also makes use of Paragon’s “Hot Processing Engine”, which is basically Paragon’s alternative to Microsoft’s Volume Shadow Copy Service and allows you to work with your partitions while they are in use. However, it can’t do much else more than that (the only other features are minor features such as hiding partition, changing partition letter, converting file system (NTFS/FAT only), checking for errors, etc.).
Now, that really only leaves one question: Is PPM FE worth the download? Well, it is a product of Paragon Software, so you can rest assure of its quality. However, it really only does provide the basics and skips out on any remotely advanced features (in particular the lack of bootable media and support for Linux formats is disappointing) so PPM FE does lose out on quite a bit of leverage Paragon’s commercial Partition Manager had over rival commercial partition managers such as EASEUS Partition Master Professional Edition. That said, PPM FE is on just-about-even footing with EASEUS Partition Master Home Edition (the free-for-home-use version of EASEUS PM) with the main differences being EASEUS PM Home Edition supports copying of dynamic disks and has a file/partition recovery module, while PPM FE supports 64-bit machines and has the ability to defrag (EASEUS PM Home Edition is also a much smaller download size, 11 MB vs 30 MB). What both – PPM FE and EASEUS PM Home Edition – lack, though, is the ability to create bootable media, which can be found in the likes of Partition Wizard and GParted, both free to use for home and business users. So, to go back to the original question, is PPM FE worth the download? Yes, with a caveat: if you need it, feel free to grab it – it will help you do the basics – but there are very viable, potentially better free alternatives also (as I just mentioned).
All in all, despite any shortcomings, I always welcome the shift of any company from exclusively shareware software to a shareware-freeware model; I roll out the red carpet when a world-class company like Paragon Software makes the transition (it’s like a second birthday to me; or third, fourth, fifth, …hundredth, etc.).
You may grab Paragon Partition Manger Free Edition from the following links:
Version Reviewed: v2010 Build 9095 (17.11.09)
Supported OS: Windows 2000/XP/Vista/Win7
Download Size: 30 MB
Special Note: You will be asked to grab a (free) registration key during installation