Hard Disk Management: Paragon Partition Manager 11 Professional

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Last year we reviewed the hard disk management tool Paragon Partition Manager 10 (both the Personal and Professional versions) and it was clear that both versions give a fantastic range of utilities for managing everything from partitioning and boot management through to full backup and migration processes.  With the advent of the new version of Paragon Partition Manager 11 we were eager to see what improvements have been made.

As with version 10 the suite of utilities are available through either an "Express" or "Advanced" interface, which allow for simple wizard or more advanced customisable tasks repectively.  The majority of the tools are very similar to the previous versions and work in the same way, with comprehensive information available for each task or wizard.  Where the software is dramatically new is with the addition and integration of more advanced migration and support for the creation of virtual machine environments (MS Virtual PC, VMware Workstation, VMware Fusion, and Sun VirtualBox are all supported) from images.

As well as providing support for virtual machines, Paragon Partition Manager 11 Professional provides a new utility named PAT (Paragon Alignment Tool). In basic terms this tool aligns physical and virtual sectors to improve the speed of access to their relative physical and virtual partitions.  Beyond the increased performance, this may not be of immediate concern for the average user, but if you use SSD drives this can significantly improve the lifespan of solid state drives.  Importantly, the PAT tool can do this without endangering the data itself.  Additionally the software allows virtual machines and drives to be connected to and worked with as if they were physical disks, even allowing tasks such as repartitioning etc using the Connect VD protocol.

Priced at £49.99 (at the time of writing), version 11 of Paragon Partition Manager provides significant improvements over the previous version - namely with repect to working with virtual machine environments.  It still provides an easily scalable interface to effortlessly conduct any number of tasks in relation to partition and hard disk management and as such far surpasses the tools available as standard in Windows 7 or its predecessors, and also many dedicated commercial softwares.