Acronis – Disk Director Suite 10 review

hard drive partition splitting, merging, creation and recovery
Photo of Acronis – Disk Director Suite 10
£25

You may never need to repartition your hard drive. But if you do, you’d be well advised not to rely on Windows’ rather crude tools. Disk Director Suite 10 may only address one task (actually a set of related tasks), but it knows what it’s doing, does it pretty quickly and does it without disturbing the files and folders already stored on your hard drive.

Version 10 adds the ability to split a partition into two and to merge two partitions into one, in both cases leaving existing data intact. You could always make extra partitions, of course, but previously only from free space on the disk. Now you can split a partition and specify which folders and files will reside in each of the new partitions.

You can go the other way, too, by taking two partitions – even fairly full ones – and merging them, leaving all files and folders intact in the merged area. It doesn’t even matter if the original partitions were in different file systems, say one in FAT 32 and the other NTFS, although you do have to choose what format the merged partition will be.

We tried this out on an 80GB USB 2 portable drive, creating 10GB and 70GB partitions from one and putting some of the files from the old, single partition into each of the two new ones. Disk Director accomplished all this in under two minutes. We then converted the larger of the two partitions from FAT 32 to NTFS, using the Windows Convert tool (there doesn’t appear to be a converter in the Acronis suite) and merged the two together. The merger again took under two minutes and we ended up with a single NTFS partition with all the files still intact.

The three other parts of the program that make it a suite are Boot Manager, Partition Recovery and Disk Editor. Boot Manager is Acronis’s OS Selector, which enables you to have several operating systems on the same hard drive and select which to start at boot time. Partition Recovery does its best to resurrect a partition that has been accidentally deleted and the Disk Editor is a true hexadecimal editor, which can be used to edit files and disk sectors directly: use with extreme care and only if you know what you’re doing.

Disk Director Suite 10 offers two modes of operation: automatic – where you are restricted in the things you can do and work through a series of step-by-step Wizards – and manual, where there are a lot more tools available, but you need to know how to use them. Manual mode is the more useful, but proceed with caution, as a wrong move can result in a wiped partition, though there are safeguards.

Company: Acronis

Contact: 0870 240 4494


Verdict
Disk Director Suite 10 is the kind of application you buy when you have the need. It'll appeal to anybody who builds or repairs PCs and may be one of the only ways to recover data from a deleted partition. It can readjust partition sizes to improve hard drive use, and the new split and merge features extend its capabilities considerably. Well worth the asking price.