As advanced users know there are certain storage related tools that Microsoft simply does not include with their Operating systems – and probably never will. The ability to clone a partition from one hard drive to another, the ability to extend a partition without first nuking the data and starting from scratch, even the ability to do low level ‘surface’ testing to see what issues a drive really is suffering from. All these are tools that everyone one should have in their toolbox, and yet to get them you have had to either spend a lot of money or deal with free ‘open source’ options. Open Source programs like GPart and the like work OK, but they do have their limitations. To really get a fully featured toolset classically meant opting for either Acronis DiskDirector, or Paragon’s Partition Manager.

Another lesser known, but equally powerful, option is MiniTool Solution Ltd’s Partition Manager. This fully featured program may lack the name brand recognition, and marketing budget, of the competition but this Canadian made program offers a wealth of features in one simple to use application. Namely you can do almost everything Acronis or Paragon offers including surface testing, drive and partition cloning, booting from an ISO, etc. Equally important, this program features free add-on modules which allow for everything from Undelete, to Data Recovery, to even unformating an accidentally formatted partition. All features which have helped differentiate the bigger players from the various ‘others’ that have cropped up over the years…and usually disappeared equally fast. Considering MiniTool has been around since 2001 we highly doubt that this company is another of those flyby nights which promise the moon and delivery very little so that twenty dollars is a great investment.

While the features this handy little program offer certainly are interesting, if not unique, what really sets this application apart from the competition is its pricing structure. Acronis offers exactly one “take it or leave it” option that costs $50 USD. Paragon also has one option for home users that costs $40 USD. Neither are perfect for every customer, and this is why MiniTool’s pricing structure is what first caught our attention. First and foremost they offer a truly free – not trial ware – basic version that covers a lot of the basics and then they offer a Professional version for $39.95, and finally they offer an Enterprise version that does everything the pro model does and then some. Better still, is for $20 more you can get free lifetime updates – something neither Acronis nor Paragon offer!

Even though the price certainly is right, and the list of features certainly is nice, it is the real world performance that matters most. At the end is this program really worth a look or should the typical enthusiast still rely upon the Acronis/Paragon duopoly? That is the answer we intended to find out.

As a gift from Minitool they have sponsored a giveaway of both the Pro Version of their Partition software and the Personal Version of Data Recovery which we reviewed both today. For the next week, starting right now we will be giving away one free copy of Partition Wizard Pro Ending this Thursday at 7am Mountain time, at that time we will start the second giveaway for Power Data Recovery Personal which will run till this Sunday at 8am. Thank you and good luck

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