Dividing up your hard drive into multiple partitions can be an excellent way to reorganise your system, reduce file fragmentation, improve performance, and assist with data recovery. Windows own partitioning tools are rather basic, though, awkward to use and short on features. So if you want to get the most out of your hard drive then you'll benefit from using a specialist third-party tool, and O&O PartitionManager 3.0 Professional is one of the best.

The program comes with all the tools you need to create, move, shrink, expand or delete partitions, for instance. You can now convert primary partitions to logical drives, and vice versa. And unlike some of the competition, PartitionManager 3.0 Professional works with all disk types: MBR, GPT, even dynamic disks (volumes that extend over a number of physical drives).

Bonus features include the display of S.M.A.R.T. data, which can alert you to impending drive failure by reporting on drive surface errors. And if you're passing on a drive to someone else then you may also appreciate the ability to securely wipe a partition, so you can be sure that any confidential data it might have contained will be gone forever.

And if your hard drive becomes corrupted for some reason, and Windows will no longer start, then the full version of PartitionManager 3.0 Professional (not the trial) provides a recovery disc that can help. Unusually, it's Windows PE-based, so there are no Linux complexities to get in the way. You'll boot into the familiar Windows interface, with access to PartitionManager 3.0 to try and fix your system. And if you need more assistance, then RegEdit, a System Restore Point manager, CheckDisk tool and a copy of Internet Explorer are on hand to help you out.

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A very capable, reliable and easy-to-use partitioning tool. The Windows PE-based recovery disc is a plus, too