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Canadian Content Technology

May, 2004

Original on the Canadian Content Technology website


Acronis Partition Expert 2003


Rating: 9.5/10


Introduction:

When it comes to setting up your computer, there comes a time when you will have to create partitions and manage them, for example carry out partition resizing, move partitions, copy partition to partition and so on. Although, Windows 2000 and XP are the only operating systems from Microsoft that incorporate partition editors, they don't do everything that more popular programs do such as Partition Magic and Acronis Partition Expert 2003. If you were using Win9x operating systems, you're out of luck since these didn't come with a graphical partition manager and would have to rely on the complicated fdisk program, so xp partition resize or deletion appear awesome tasks for a non-experienced user in particular.

The built in partition program that comes with Windows XP/2000 is good for the basic tasks, but when it comes to the advanced tasks, e.g. performing resize of an xp partition, it lacks the features it needs to appeal to the advanced computer users. The lack of resizing partitions is one major factor I feel that is wrong with the "built-in" partition manager.

Programs like the one being reviewed and other popular partition programs include many nifty features (basic commands, such as create partition or make partition copy), and the one I find the most important of all is the resize feature. resize partition in Windows is something the OS vendor might have thought about, actually. Besides partition resize in Windows XP, Acronis also has incorporated many security features in Acronis Partition Expert, and also other programs to keep your harddrive in good working order.


Functionality:

Acronis Partition Expert does the basic tasks of a partition program. You can create, format and delete partitions, in a nice user interface, and for those who are not too sure, there are wizards in Acronis Partition Expert to guide you to what you want to do.

There are plenty of other nifty things incorporated into this program. As I was mentioning before, Acronis Partition Expert can resize your existing partitions. In addition to the resize partition command, the utility can convert the partition to a different type (i.e.: FAT32 to NTFS or for linux users FAT32 to EXT3), and something I found I really liked in the program the ability to copy a partition.

There are many times in which you get a new harddrive and you wonder how can I take data from my C:\ partition to my new HD and not spend time reinstalling programs? The solution is by using Copy Partition function in this program. Well you do have to physically install your harddrive into the existing computer and set it to slave load up into Windows and use the copy partition function. Before people would have to use the xcopy32 command in DOS to copy over ever single file of what they wanted and this could be tedious, but here, it is made simple.

Acronis Partition Expert has other tools included to keep your HD in working order. It includes a "disk doctor" where it checks for disk errors and fixes them. Also included is a disk defragmenter to help speed up the process of "locating" files when running programs.

Now when formatting a harddrive you have the ability to choose cluster size. What is this, how "big" each block is in a certain partition. You don't want to make a partition have a big cluster size meaning 32 Kb and up since if you had a file of 2 Kb for example, 30 Kb of space would be wasted. Although some may argue that having it bigger cluster size such as 16 Kb+ might improve performance, but would it be a really significant gain? There are people that might go 512 bytes for a cluster size, which is the smallest available, this would take a long time to format a harddrive because in fact it would have to create a lot of these tinier clusters and create more of them. I would recommend either using 4–16 K as a normal size. Also if you wanted to see how much space you're really saving by looking to change cluster size, if you click Advanced and click change cluster size, you'll get a map showing you how much space you can effectively use. With Acronis Partition Expert adjusting cluster size or resizing a partition proceeds swiftly.

Like the review of Acronis Privacy Expert, Acronis Partition Expert has incorporated security functions to help destroy personal information when formatting your harddrive. This is a good measure to help stop identity theft and other malicious crimes. So go ahead copying partitions or doing partition resize in XP or other OSes.


Conclusion:

Acronis Partition Expert has all the tools to compete in the area of partition managers. It includes nifty tools and the ability of doing things that other partition managers are capable of. The most frequently executed operations Acronis Partition Expert can do are create partition under the most popular OSes — Windows 2000 and XP, resize partition or move partition.

The manual is quite good, at a whopping 80 pages, it includes a lot of colored images to show you step by step how to do things. Not all programs do come with a good manual nowadays, but Acronis has used a lot of detail and wrote their manual for those who are not computer experts but can also easily follow along to make sure that they are doing the task correctly. The manufacturer does its best to allow you to easily perform basic and advanced operations: implementing partition creation, partition resize and much more.

The interface of Acronis Partition Expert is nice and clean and quite detailed. It looks like the Windows XP GUI so for those who use Windows XP shouldn't have a hard time using it. To smooth moving partitions or executing partition resize the program has easy-in-use wizards. The wizards are very good and simple to read.

Acronis Partition Expert can give its competitors like Partition Magic a run for its money.