GParted is a free disk partitioning tool that runs from outside of the operating system, meaning that you don’t need an OS installed to use it, nor will you ever have to reboot to apply any changes.
Among other things, you can delete, format, resize, copy, and hide any partition recognized by GParted.
GParted Pros & Cons
There's very little to dislike about the GParted disk management tool:
What We Like
Has a familiar graphical interface that's easy to use.
Doesn't require an operating system.
Never requires a reboot to commit changes.
Queues all changes until you're ready to apply them.
What We Don’t Like
Relatively large download size.
Can only be used after burning it to a disc or USB device.
Can't redo changes (only undo).
More About GParted
- Data on one partition can be copied to any other partition, even one on a different physical drive
- Resizing a partition is simple with GParted because you can either resize it by sliding the space left and right for a smaller or larger partition or simply enter the size in manually
- Supports formatting to lots of different file systems, including common ones like NTFS, FAT, EXT, and HFS, but also less common ones like XFS, F2FS, BTRFS, JFS, Reiser4, and NILFS2
- Lets you change the volume label
- Can create a new partition table; options include: aix, amiga, bsd, dvh, gpt, mac, msdos, pc98, sun, and loop
- You can manage the flag for a device, with these options: boot, diag, esp, hidden, irst, lba, lvm, palo, prep, and raid
- Drive error checking is supported
- A data recovery option can attempt to recover files by letting you copy them to other media
- On the main menu, when you first boot to GParted, there’s an option to run a free memory test with the included MemTest86+ tool
How to Install GParted
GParted must be properly extracted to a disc or a flash drive before you can use it. Get started by visiting the download page to get the ISO file. The download is the first link below the “Stable Releases” section.
See How to Burn an ISO Image File to a DVD if you plan on using GParted from a disc, or How to Burn an ISO File to a USB Drive if you plan on using it from a USB device like a flash drive. One isn’t better than the other—it’s your choice.
After GParted has been installed, you must then boot from it before the operating system starts up. If you’re not sure how to do that, see this tutorial for how to boot from a disc, or this one for instructions on booting from a USB device.
Once you've booted from your GParted disc or USB device, choose the first option called GParted Live (Default Settings). Most of you should be fine choosing Don't touch keymap on the next screen you see.
You'll then need to choose your language. The default is set to English, so just press the Enter key to continue, or you can choose a different language from the list. Finally, press Enter once more to start using GParted.
Thoughts on GParted
We like disk partition programs like GParted because they work regardless of the operating system you're using so that you can be running Linux, Windows, or a brand new hard drive with nothing installed yet.
The fact that GParted supports lots of file systems makes it one of the most versatile disk partition programs we've ever used. It's always nice to see a software developer put the time and energy into features that only a few people might use but no doubt save the day for those couple of users.
However, some things are clearly missing in GParted that we've seen in similar programs, like the ability to migrate an installed operating system to a different drive. However, as far as regular partitioning actions, like resizing and formatting, most things are well supported, making GParted a great choice for most.
Also, while we don't think it's a huge concern, we do find it odd that you can't redo the changes you've made. GParted queues everything you want to do and only applies them when you decide to save them. You can undo any of these operations before you commit to them, but if you accidentally undo it, you can't redo it. Again, it's not a major issue at all, but of the programs we've seen that support undoing, they also let you redo changes.
Overall, we think GParted is the best bootable disk partition program we've used, mostly because it provides a full user interface like you'd find in any Windows-based tool.