Whether you are a home based computer enthusiast, local computer repair shop owner, or an IT Manager, chances are you’ve experienced troubling hard drive issues.

A hard drive is a delicate component of any computer due to the trust people put into them to store data. While modern technology has allowed for mechanical hard drives to become more robust, hard drive manipulation software has been lacking from both the manufacturer and third party companies.

Although Windows' built in Disk Management tool offers a free and easy to use interface for hard drives, certain tasks like adjusting partition sizes on the fly or creating backups tend to be more difficult or impossible.

Perform a quick Google search of “Hard Drive Software” and you’ll find some free programs that may take care of your desired task, but there’s always the underlying question of its reputation. The Google search does portray an interesting search result with the newest Paragon-Software software listed as number two.

Looking back to a few months ago, I had the experience of reviewing Paragon-Software’s Hard Disk Manager 14 (HDM). With design elements focused towards backup and restore, I concluded that HDM 14 was a great purchase for any computer tinkerer who deals with hard drive manipulation.

Returning in full force, Paragon-Software has recently released Hard Disk Manager 15 and although the design of the software hasn’t altered much, behind the scenes new options and improved changes have been implemented. Before reading the following review, I advise reading my review of HDM 14 to understand all of the core features and menus of HDM.

Welcome to my review of Paragon-Software’s Hard Disk Manager 15 Professional. Throughout this review, I will be discussing the new features, functionality, and my overall thoughts. I would like to thank Paragon-Software for their assistance in making this review.



New and Improved

Hard Disk Manager 15 is loaded with five new 2015 advancements as well as one single update to an existing backup wizard. Even though Paragon-Software does not specify bug fixes and patches, it did appear to me that the software acted in a smoother manner.

First, HDM 15 includes an agentless protection of Hyper-V guest machines to operate backups within a Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service. The term agentless is used to describe how the program can handle copying and configuring your new virtual backup without human intervention.

Moving on, Paragon-Software has included their innovative backup imaging technology that is mainly addressed in their Backup and Restore software. While most users will not be backing up or restoring virtual containers of a pVHD, VHD, VHDX, or VMDX format, it’s reassuring knowing that the high-end technology is there if needed.

Previously offered as a secondary program, Paragon-Software has now included Paragon Recovery Media Builder 3.0 into HDM 15. By allowing users to prepare USB ISO or PXE images, as well as controlling Windows boot USBs, the new edition allows for manipulation over media devices unlike any other software.

Lastly, to grow HDM 15’s technology base, HDM 15 now has the ability to wipe entire SSDs. Built right into the menus, with a click of a button, you can permanently wipe a SSD without chance of recovery. Although I am not a huge fan of placing SSDs under a progressive wipe, HDM 15 appears to complete the task in a secure manner.



Functionality

As I mentioned above, many of the functions of HDM 14 have stayed around in HDM 15 and Paragon-Software’s newest editions do offer a better experience, but it's questionable if you need upgrade from HDM 14 to HDM 15.

As before, I ran my testing with partitioning first. I experienced the same results of HDM 14 with HDM 15 completing a resizing and creating partition easily and effectively. On occasion, I would find that HDM 15 would not complete the task if the operation became intensive. However, your result may differ.

While Paragon-Software offers HDM 15 in both a Suite and Professional setup, I found the Professional benefit of Advance Mode to be a must have. In hard drive emergencies where the system is preventing a system boot, you can launch a DOS edition of HDM that allows you to repair, fix, or analyze the hard drive all at your fingertips.

Built into HDM 15, is their Copy and Migration tab that allows users to move entire operating systems to a new system. Although I found little usage at a personal level, if you’re an IT Manager looking to transfer old machines to new ones without having to deal with issues along the way, HDM 15 is a must have for you. By carefully and intelligently moving core operating system files along with personal files to your new hard drive or SSD, it takes away the boring and tedious task of doing it manually, or the worry of other third party software failing to finish the job.

If you are already a HDM 14 owner and user, then it’s hard to justify the new cost for HDM 15 as the functionality hasn’t altered very much. However, if you are running an older edition of HDM or are in search of a compatible, reliable, and powerful hard drive manipulation software, then the HDM 15 becomes a must have.



My Overall Thoughts

Hard Disk Manager 15 leaves me in the same mindset of Hard Disk Manager 14; the software is excellent for those who seek hard drive manipulation as well as advanced backup and recovery tools. Offered in both a Suite and Professional standpoint with $50 being the difference, it all depends on the user’s desire for hard drive features; a comparison list can be found here . For both new consumers and enterprise level users, HDM 15 will bring the service you require to a higher standard.

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