One of the most common IT tasks for system administrators and PC power users is disk management. This includes tasks like partitioning disks and drives, generating reports of drive usage, and generally getting a handle on your disks and drives. There are several commercial products that can help with disk management duties, but we’ve gathered a few of the more popular open source and freeware disk management utilities here as part of our free tools for system administrators directory.
You should consider this list a work in progress, so feel free to suggest some of your own favorite disk management utilities by adding a comment to this post. One final note: Some of these free utilities are only free for personal and/or non-commercial use, and others offer commercial versions that offer more features and functionality, albeit for a price. So, your mileage may vary.
1. EaseUS Partition Master Free (EaseUS)
Primarily designed for home users, EaseUS Partition Master Free is the free edition of a commercial product by EaseUS. It’s easy to install and use, and it helps you get a handle on the most common disk management tasks, including tackling low disk space issues; creating, resizing, merging and deleting disk partitions; and providing reports and generating some limited analysis of all the above. It also works with everything from Windows XP to Windows 8, supports removable storage devices, RAIDs, GPT disks, and even allows you to create, format, delete and recover Linux disk partitions as well. [Download EaseUS Partition Master Free]
2. Paragon Partition Manager Free (Paragon Software)
Another free version of a more fully-featured professional product, Paragon Software’s Paragon Partition Manager Free allows you to create, format, move, resize, and delete disk partitions. While it lacks many of the more robust features found in the commercial version of the product — the Hard Disk Manager Suite — it does include plenty of functionality for basis disk management tasks, including the ability to create, format, and resize drives based on the FAT 16/32 and NTFS v1.2, v3.0, and v3.1 formats. It even supports the native Mac OS X file system as well. [Download Paragon Partition Manager Free]
3. Scanner (Steffan Gerlach)
“The first freeware program that pops to mind and is one of the first installed on any PC use: Steffen Gerlach’s Scanner. It offers a great way to display disk usage. I originally used it to find files to delete off of little floppies. It is still just as useful for hunting through my 8 terabyte RAID, over the network. Just wave the mouse over a portion of the pie and it will show you in the upper left the name of the directory and the [amount of disk space on the parent disk] its children consume. You can drill down into directories to get a more detailed view, or pop all the way back to the root of the drive. The display size is scalable so it’s easy to use on any screen size. You can also delete or recycle directories or files while viewing. It looked a bit odd at first, but use it for a full two minutes and you’ll see how easy it is to use.” — Petri IT Knowledgebase reader Ken Koehler [Download Scanner]