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My two favorite free, post-install tech tools

We received a question from one of our readers the other day asking about an easy way to resize his 500GB data drive to make room for a Windows 7 install. This got me thinking about two tools that I've been using a lot lately: Easeus Partition Manager and Macrium Reflect.

If you play with a lot of operating systems, keeping a good set of images (or a stockpile of extra hard drives) around is a must. Reflect is incredibly fast and the free version should provide all the functionality most home or enthusiast users need. If not, the full version is only $40 anyway, and well worth it.

Reflect also works right in Windows, which makes imaging drives a task that users of any skill level can easily handle. People I tell to grab the free version sometimes have trouble finding the download page: it's right here.

If you're like me, there have been plenty of times where you've done a clean install on someone's system and forgotten to leave room for a recovery partition to store their image.

If you're running Vista or Windows 7, you can resize partitions using the built-in disk management tool. If you're using XP, your drive isn't NTFS, or you just don't want to use Microsoft's tool, Easeus Partition Manager provides the same functionality.

Like Reflect, Partition Manager runs in Windows and is dead simple to use. Resizing a partition is as simple as clicking and dragging, or typing the desired size in a box. Apply changes, reboot, and your new layout is good to go. Want the pro version? It's $31.96.

Sure, there are other ways to do this - like gParted and Clonezilla. For the average Windows user, however, Easeus and Macrium get my recommendation because of their ease of use.

Thanks for writing in, Jeff!

Tags: askdls, clone, commercial, drive-imaging, freeware, ghost, partition