Paragon Hard Disk Manager 12
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Hi fellows, today i will review Paragon Hard Disk Manager 12 (aka HDM), it is a comprehensive suite possessing multiple advanced modules to manage, maintain and optimize your hard drive.
I will use HDM on a WindowsXP x86 virtual machine.
Quote:Paragon Hard Disk Manager 12 Suite is an integrated set of powerful tools that is specially designed to tackle most of the problems you might face while using PC. Its functionality covers all aspects of a computer life cycle beginning from carrying out all the necessary partitioning operations to install the system from scratch and providing its data reliable protection to secure utilization of an outdated hard disk.
Just after the installation of the suite, a pop-up will ask you to create a "recovery disk", i highly recommend you to do it, since in case of system crash or unbootable system ; this disk will help you to restore/fix the issue.
Quote:Building Recovery Media
Recovery Media Builder can help you accomplish the following operations:
· Prepare the Linux/DOS recovery environment (included in the installation package) on external media (CD, DVD, or flash memory) to boot and run utilities under Linux or PTS DOS, and that way to get access to your hard disk for maintenance or recovery purposes (strongly recommended);
· Prepare a custom Linux/DOS recovery environment by adding any data you like to the standard image;
· Prepare a bootable recovery environment from any ISO image;
· Create from the master CD the Linux/DOS recovery environment on a CD/DVD disc, or flash memory.
HDM possesses 2 modes:
- The Express Mode:
A simplified interface that shows the most important modules in an "easy-to-view & access" way.
Quote:The first component that will be displayed is called the Express Launcher. Thanks to a well thought-out categorization and hint system, it provides quick and easy access to wizards and utilities that we consider worth using on a regular basis. With its help you can also start up the traditional launcher, the help system or go to the program’s home page.
- The Advanced Interface:
A more complex interface, with all functions displayed in a more "professional" view.
Note: For the review, i will choose the advanced interface.
The advanced interface is divided into several zones as shown below:
- Main Menu:
All the functionnality of HDM are available there.
For fast access to the most used functions.
- Virtual Operation Bar:
When you decide to do some operations to your hard drive, HDM put them into a virtual mode, allowing you to "preview" the effects of the changes on your disk, without really executing them.
Quote:Virtual mode is an effective way of protection from any troubles, since no operations will be executed until clicking the Apply button for confirmation, thus giving a second chance to weigh all pros and cons of this or that particular operation.
- Common Task Bar:
It gave easy access to several program's wizards.
- Disk Map:
It displays the layout of physical and logical disks.
- Explorer Bar:
located at the center of the interface, it is one of the most important area, it displays the help system, general information on the product, detailed information about disks selected , list of scheduled operations, etc...
- Partition List:
It displays the current state and other informations of the system hard disks/partitions.
- Legend Bar:
the color scheme used for disk and partition based on file systems.
- Status Bar:
This is the bottom part of the main window. The Status Bar displays menu hints, for each item the cursor points to.
Not to say, HDM has lot of features and options, i will not review all of them but the principal ones.
Basic Partitionning Task
Here you have 4 options:
- Express create:
This is the fastest and safest partition creation wizard, you will be able to create a new partition in few clicks.
This wizard is more advanced than the above one, allowing you to execute a more complex and granular partionning.
As its name shows, it is for formatting your partition.
Used to delete any partitions.
Now that you have the basic description of the wizards, let do some tests; i will simulate a basic user on WindowsXP with a 15GB drive and create a new partition.
Creating a partition
i will use the "Express Create" wizard, i want a second partition, and do it quick & secure (as most of us surely like to do):
Quote:Thanks to a highly intelligent work algorithm, the wizard requires minimal involvement in the operation, thus you only need to choose a method you find the most suitable to create the partition (if several available), which actually differ in the amount of space to allocate. For easy perception, you can see the resulted disk layout on the disk map by selecting this or that mode.
The wizard shows me 3 options:
- Take all unallocated space at the end of the disk:
it does what it says ^^
- Smart Mode:
It will take the most suitable amount of space
- Advanced Mode:
Will take space depending of the adjoining partition, the user must be careful if the adjoining one is a system partition.
i dont want to mess up wityh my partitions so i will use the Smart Mode:
As i told you earlier, HDM virtualize all my actions until i apply them.
Now lets applying the changes ! HDM will show a popup to ensure you want apply the change (better be warned twice than never ^^)
, then HDM said i have to restart for the operations to be completed, ok no problemo.
Now the operations are executed after the restart during the boot sequence. ( i used a virtual machine so i can show you the process)
and this is what we have at the end, a brand new created and formatted partition, usable right away.
The process was really simple and safe, i could do it the eyes closed; this is a great plus offered by HDM.
Advanced Partitionning Tasks
Here are displayed more advanced tasks:
- Express Resize:
If you think that a partition is too small/big for your needs, this is the tool you will have to use to resize it.
- Undelete Partition:
If by mistake you have deleted a partition, this tool will help you to recover it.
Quote:When simply deleting a partition (without additional wiping) disk management software only removes references to it in the Partition Table, thus leaving the possibility to recover it later.
The program enables to find and recover these partitions. A restored partition will be fully functional, as long as other partitions were not created, moved or exceeded the disk space occupied by that partition. That is why the program offers this function only for blocks of free space.
- Merge Partition
: If you think that having a second partition is not worthy, you can merge it with another one.
Quote:The Merge Partitions Wizard enables to consolidate the disk space, which originally belongs to two adjacent partitions (or additionally separated by free blocks), into a single, larger partition. The order, in which two partitions have been chosen, is important since all contents of the second selected partition will be placed in a folder on the resulted joined partition.
The program provides the ability to merge only NTFS, FAT16 or FAT32 partitions.
- Split Partition Wizard:
This tool allows you to split one existing partition into 2 different one having the same type and file system that the original one.h
- Redristibute Free Space:
This tool allows you to grab some free space from a given partition and add it to another one. one scenario is that your "data" partition is full and your "system" one is too large and has unused space.
- Wipe Hard Disk or Partition:
by executing this tool, you will wipe entire disks/partitions/free space to ensure that noone of your datas are recoverable.
Hard drive duplication nowadays is becoming highly popular among PC users. That is due to some definite advantages it can offer. First of all, many people clone hard disks just to back up data for security reasons. The present day copy utilities enable to successfully transfer all on-disk information including standard bootstrap code and other system service structures, thus maintaining the operating system’s working capability. In case of a system malfunction, the user can get the system back on track in minutes. No additional configuration is required, what is very convenient.
The second possible application is the upgrade of a hard disk to a new one. The capacity of a modern hard drive doubles every two years, thus opening up new possibilities for software developers. As a result programs become more complicated and require considerable amount of free space. One day the user realizes that there is no more free space left on the hard disk and the only way out is to upgrade. Usually that means that besides purchasing a new hard disk, the user is to face a large re-installation procedure spanning several days of tedious work. But all of this can be avoided just by copying the contents of the old hard disk to a new one proportionally resizing the partitions.
And the last but not least is the copying of hard disks for cloning purposes. It may be of great use when setting up similar computers. There is no need for a system administrator to install an operating system from scratch on every one of them. It is enough just to configure one and then clone it to the others.
- Migrate OS:
This tool allows you to migrate the Operating System, programs and datas of a non-dynamic volume to another HDD/SSD.
- Copy Hard Disk:
It does what it says, you copy the content of a given disk to another one.
- Copy Partition:
You can duplicate partitions to protect oneself from downtime in case of a system malfunction or for cloning sample partitions. The program enables to duplicate all partition data including files, the exact structure of directories and file system metadata (location of files, security information, access quotas, etc.).
One of the most important feature of HDM, the backup/restore functions.
Quote:Depending on a type of information you need to protect and the way this information should be processed, the program offers a number of handy backup wizards. To make your job with the program as easy and convenient as possible, all backup wizards share similar work algorithm. By going through steps of the wizard, you configure all the necessary settings to launch the backup operation. To minimize the possibility of making any mistake, the wizard provides auxiliary information on every single option. Moreover you can get an in-depth description to any setting, control, or field of the wizard just by clicking the hint button and then the object you need.
- Smart Backup:
This wizard will allow you to backup different kind of datas depending your needs.
- Manage Capsule: It will help you to create/resize/delete a special secured space (called Backup capsule) to store your backups.
- Restore Disk or Partition:
as it says, this tool will help you to restore a disk or partition.
now that you have the theory , lets practice it; i will create a capsule then backup my system in it:
Creating the Capsule
i launch the wizard, it gave me some infos:
i just want to do it simply, so i dont tick the "advanced mode", i continue, it ask me in which disk i will create my capsule, i have only one drive so i click next.
it ask me how big will be the capsule, i have no idea, so i let HDM choose for me, then click next.
interesting, i can set the capsule to recover my backup at the startup of my system. of course, i accept, why discard such useful option.
The wizard is over, like before when we partionned the disk, i have to "apply" the changes. there the process and result.
Now that we created the Capsule, we will do the system backup.
as i said earlier, i will do a system backup (aka partition backup)
HDM ask me what i want to backup, so i choose to backup the master boot record (MBR) and the Patition C (my system). As you can see at the bottom, you have a box for advanced users (i pretend not to be one so i dont tick it). HDM shows me how big will be my backup file's size.
HDM ask me where to store the backup, i made a capsule, so go for it !
then it shows me some infos about my backup and capsule , also i can rename my backup file.
then HDM ask me if i want to backup now or schedules it, i will choose now, then it shows me a summary of the incoming operations
ok "Time to Launch" ! (as usual i have to "apply" the changes)
As you can see my backup "Umbra test backup" is located in the capsule, well done HDM.
I will say it again, the whole procedure was smooth and easy to do; i didn't encounter any issues.
The last part of this review is the various tools available to the users.
- File Transfer Wizard:
it allows you to copy and store datas from the local drives or archives to any destination available.
- Boot Manager Wizard:
it allows you to configure various options of the Boot Manager.
- Install new OS wizard:
as it said, this wizard will help you to install a new Operating System.
HDM has many many settinng that will satisfies the most advanced users that love to tweak their softwares.
Final Note & Rating
HDM is a very complete and very well made hard disk managing suite, it will satisfies all kind of users from the beginners to the advanced ones. The features are well designed and easy to use.
Having a backup software is a priority, no system is out of reach of a system failure.
In the past i made a unrecoverable mistake in partitionnng my HDD with the Windows' Built-in Disk Manager, i could fix it fastly and safely with HDM, so if you can afford to buy it , i highly suggest you to do so, you will not regret it.
i didn't find any cons in HDM yet , it is one of the rare software i rate 5/5.
Thanks for reading.