A hard disk manager is one of those pieces of software which is essential when you need to restructure a drive – but for many users, it’s infrequently used at other times. To increase its overall usefulness, Paragon has built in an effective back-up tool and a lot of extras into the latest version of its Paragon Hard Disk Manager software, such as a defragmenter, secure disk wipe and even a hexadecimal disk editor.
The core functions of the program are everything to do with partitions, the notional hard drives on a PC’s physical hard disks. You can create, delete, resize, move and back them up, though splitting one is an unnecessarily long-winded, two-stage procedure. Paragon provides a clutch (coven?) of wizards to help the most common tasks and these can effectively insulate you from the nitty gritty of these low-level tasks.
Backup is comprehensive, covering file and whole partition copies and can be scheduled automatically using the program’s built-in scheduler. It can also be used to migrate a system from one hard drive or PC to another, installing new system drivers as it does so.
Tasks such as merging and resizing partitions proved quite speedy, but defragmenting a small, 70GB partition with just 16GB of data took over an hour. All these tasks required the program to restart and use its own dedicated version of Linux, so you can’t leave the program running in the background while you do other work.
The professional version of the program also handles Microsoft, VMware and Oracle virtual disk images and provides secure disk wipe, to prevent data leaving, when old computers are disposed of.
- Bundles backup and defrag functions to increase the program's overall usefulness.
- Can't be run in the background; some tasks are slow to perform.
Paragon Hard Disk Manager 11 Professional is a well-featured, do-it-all management and backup tool, but it's still a bit messy compared with its main competitors - particularly when running in its own operating environment. Even so, it's the only product to combine disk management and backup, and it does so at a good price.