Paragon Hard Disk Manager 12 Professional

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Product: Paragon Hard Disk Manager 12 Professional
Provided By: Paragon Software
Price: $99.99 MSRP

Introduction:

It's been a long time since I have sat down and analyzed a piece of software for a review.  As a computer tech and hardware analyst, I use a lot of different utilities - some free and some paid, that help me with my job.  I've used a lot of different hard drive management programs over the years to help people out, and I've become familiar with Acronis, PowerQuest and Norton utilities over the years, but never actually have I used Paragon's software until recently.

Quite a while ago, we were contacted regarding this software suite and I agreed.  Unfortunately, it fell by the wayside until recently.  I recently upgraded a few PCs here at BCCHardware HQ South and needed to image the drives that came with the computers onto fast SSDs.  Sometimes, this works like a charm with cheap (free) software, but other times it can be a pain in the backside.  I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try out some of the tools included with the Hard Disk Manager 12 Professional suite.  Going into this review, I had mixed feelings as I've had odd results with some other software at times.

In this article we'll cover some of the basic features of this suite.  We simply cannot cover everything it can do as it is very extensive in its support of many different types of hardware, images, virtual machines, file systems and more.  We'll do a few basic tasks and see how they shape up and if I could recommend this to a person in need.

 

First Look:

The Paragon Hard Disk Manager 12 Profession suite is nice and clean.  If you've used other hard disk management programs in the past, you'll notice that they all look similar in some regards.  In the image below, we are setting up to manage three different SSD drives.  We have our main OS on this machine on a 160GB OCZ RevoDrive 3 and are going to be working with both 128GB SATA drives.

Paragon Main

In the images below, we show off a few of the options available for Hard Disk Management, Partition Management as well as a few of the "Wizards" that are available to simplify and speed up your life.  There are so many things to choose from, but that Professional version may be a bit intimidating for a new user.  If you need basic tasks, I would probably recommend the standard version of Hard Drive Manager 12.


Hard Disk Options
Partition Options
Partition Options
Wizards
Wizards

Hard Disk Manager 12 gives you a lot of information and control over your disks.  It is great to be able to quickly and easily manage partitions, data and backups all from within one software program.

 

On the next page we'll cover a few of the features of the software before we continue on to testing.

 


Features:

There is so much this Professional version of Hard Disk Manager 12 can do that we simply cannot cover it all in this brief review.  We'll cover some of the relevant features that will interest most consumers.  For all the latest and complete information, please check out the product page.  We've included some of the information for you below.

Hard Disk Manager Professional includes all facilities to help IT administrators efficiently maintain stand-alone Windows desktops and laptops through their life cycle with minimal effort:

  • New drive partitioning engine - more functions, faster, yet safer
  • Support for SSD, AFD, 2TB+ and non-512B sector size disks
  • Automatic partition alignment boosts storage performance
  • P2V, V2V, V2P, P2P, OS to SSD migration for Windows OS
  • Non-destructive Connect VD to safely manage virtual storages
  • Disaster recovery and drive re-partitioning facilities
  • Comprehensive WinPE recovery environment*

 

We offer effective data and storage management:

  • The fastest and safest partitioning engine on the market - our product does the job with minimal time and risk
  • Any type of migration for Windows 2000 and later platforms (P2V, P2V Restore, V2P, V2V, P2P, OS to SSD, etc.)
  • Automatic partition alignment allows to get the most of physical and virtual data storages (not all operations are supported**)
  • Enable support for modern high capacity drives (2.2TB+) under Windows XP and later platforms (GPT Loader)
  • Any backup destination, including local mounted/un-mounted partitions, external storages, CD/DVD/Blu-ray discs, network shares, SFTP/FTP servers as well as the secured hidden partition (Backup Capsule)
  • Differential and incremental backups, and exclusive file complements allows different data time-stamps with no duplication, and minimizes backup storage requirements
  • Task scheduling and scripting to chain multiple operations into one job and automate execution
  • Operation with virtual disks as if they are physical (Connect VD)
  • Fast data exchange between physical and virtual disks, between virtual disks of different vendors, or between a virtual disk and its snapshots
  • Exclusive optimization of NTFS file system (MFT defragmentation and shrinking)
  • An advanced system of filters automates the process of building up backup contents by excluding irrelevant data
  • Easy management of several operating systems on one computer
 
We contribute to business continuity:
  • Live imaging and migration for Windows systems with two snapshot technologies; Microsoft VSS and Paragon Hot Backup™ to guarantee fast and reliable live protection
  • Complete infrastructure for establishing a self-acting data protection system that is fully compliant with the set-and-forget backup policy
  • No hardware dependency with the next generation of Paragon Adaptive Restore™; our technology guarantees any Windows since 2000 will boot on different computer hardware (P2P) by automatically injecting the required drivers and other actions crucial for this type of migration
  • Restore at a granular level minimizes downtime if there's no need to restore an entire image; you choose only the files you want
  • Comprehensive recovery environments based on DOS, Linux, and WinPE* are available on CD/DVD/Blu-ray, thumb drives, or Backup Capsule to quickly get systems back on track when they fail to boot. They also help to retrieve valuable information from damaged hard disks and accomplish bare-metal system deployment
  • Boot problems correction without restore (Windows system registry modification in the off-line mode, MBR, BCD, and the Boot.ini file correction, etc.)
 
We support all hardware and software
  • Support for all latest hardware, including all SCSI, IDE and SATA RAID controllers, SSD, AFD, 2TB+ and non-512B sector size disks, Blu-ray drives, USB 1.x/2.0/3.0 and IEEE 1394 (FireWire) devices, PC card storages, and many more...
  • Support for popular virtual machines, including MS Virtual PC, VMware Workstation, VMware Fusion, and Oracle VirtualBox 4.0
  • Support for GPT (GUID Partition Table) disks
  • Support for Microsoft dynamic disks (simple, spanned, striped, mirrored, RAID-5)
  • Support for Apple Boot Camp configurations

 

On the next page we'll use the software to see how well it works as we start testing.


General Usage - Backup:

 

There are quite a few different ways that Paragon Hard Disk Manager 12 Professional can help you back up your data.  It can be as bulky as making full images of your entire disk every time, or it gives you the option of "Smart Backups" as well as incremental and differential backups.  These last two backups take a lot less space, are faster, and only backup files that have changed.  They work in different ways to create the images to restore should the need arise.  I did several backups of each type and did a full restore during testing and all worked very well.

Backup Option

 

Other operations we did include deleting and moving partitions, copying partitions and entire disks and more.  When you are selecting and configuring the job, you always have the option to back out after.  Nothing is saved or changed until you "Apply" the operation some time before you close the software.  If you have second thoughts, cold feet, or you just simply forgot to make some changes prior to the operation, you can always cancel and run away to safety.

General Usage - Drive Copy:

One of the most useful features of the Hard Disk Manager 12 Professional is the ability to copy disks - to make exact replicas of disks and migrate your system to a new drive.  This is something that should be fairly basic, but when some drives are partitioned, they aren't partitioned correctly and this can cause some issues.  HDM12 has the ability to fix these errors and then copy bit-by-bit if necessary onto a new drive.

I copied several drives during the time I had this software and my favorite feature is that you can copy your Windows system drive without rebooting.  What this means is that you can use the existing SATA 3.0 or USB 3.0 features of your system to do this very fast - without installing some legacy DOS drivers that don't work.

Disk Copy
Disk Copy
Disk Copy
Copy Progress
Done Copy
Done Copy

 

On the last page we'll draw some conclusions before we put this one to rest.


Final Thoughts:

The Paragon Hard Disk Manger 12 Professional software is pretty much exactly that.  It's professional and works as advertised in everything we tried.  I know that no software is perfect, but this came about as close as anyone could get when it comes to backing up, moving and managing your drives and more.  For drive copying, image creating, archiving and more the HDM12 suite performs like a champ.

While this installation is limited to PCs, you can manage Linux, Apple and almost every other file system that is out there.  You can even manage your virtual machines with this software.  I never had any major issues with it during testing, but I did experience one slowdown that was a bit frustrating.  Let me explain.  After you've created your initial backup, you have the option to create incremental backups from there on out.  This is a great way to save space, but when the software was checking my existing system and comparing it to the archive, it hung and entered the "Not Responding" phase.  The truth is, it was responding, but it was checking a 105GB archive to find out what had changed.  Once it discovered I'd only change a few files, the backup of the data actually only took a few seconds.  Still, the unresponsive stage was cause for concern and a less patient person might have killed the process or ended the task.

At the end of the day though, I have to be honest and give the Paragon Hard Disk Manager 12 software suite a hearty thumbs up and award it out top award here at BCCHardware.  I've been using it extensively in testing as well as in real-world data and drive migration and it hasn't let me down yet.  I'm sure that one day, it will meet some screwed-up partition that gives it grief, but at this point, I'm impressed.

 

If you have any comments, questions or feedback, please post in the forum at the link below.  I know I barely scratched the surface of this software, but if you have questions, I'm sure I'll be able to figure out the answer.

I'd like to thank Paragon Software for sending this over for us to analyze.