Is there any way of partitioning a USB pen drive in XP or Vista?

medcomputers
medcomputers used Ask the Experts™
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I have looked at your knowledge base, tried Partition Magic and used Computer Management in both XP and Vista but cannot find a way of partitioning a USB pen drive of 8/16GB. I can format the drive but cannot create partitions. Is ther any way of doing this?
Thanks
Matthew
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
Delete the existing partition.  Then repartition.  That should work.  Can you post error messages/screen shots if it doesn't
Commented:
Vista doesn't support partitions on removable drives. You can test some solutions telling windows your drive is not removable but there's no native way of doing this and you try at own risk.
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Author

Commented:
Hi guys
Thanks for comments.
leew: I cannot find any option to delete the partition, not in Computer Management. All you can do is format the drive.
uucknaaa: Lexar Boot It did not work.
qtworek: I think you are right , I don't think it is possible. Does anyone know if it will be possible to do in Windows 7? It seems a logical problem to solve as USB drives get larger and larger.
Matthew

Commented:
I see my error.  Bootit is Lexar.

Sorry  
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
Download the trial version of this sw: http://www.paragon-software.com/home/db-professional/
Then install and start it. In main window right click on flash\pen drive and select Update MBR. After that right click on partition on the drive - delete.
Apply changes.
After deletion right click on free space - create partition - specify size - apply.
Are you able to do it this way?

Commented:
I would recommend to try the "HP USB disk storag format tool" at :
http://hp-usb-disk-storage-format-tool.software.informer.com/
It is freeware and may have all the fundtions you ask for.

Commented:
No in Windows 7 it's still impossible. Microsoft doesn't support partitioning of removable drives.

Author

Commented:
Hi guys
Thanks for comments. Im having a few problems here and beginning to wonder if muy USB is faulty.
I have installed and run Paragon Drive Backup as suggested by noxcho.
Right clicking on the drive did not give me the option to update MBR so I formatted the drive and then created my first partition. This worked fine but when I tried to create the second partition I received the following error message:
File system has allocation errors due to cross-linked files. Run OS built in tools for checking and correcting this kind of error. Additional error info said the error source was Hard Disk Manager with error code 0x10018.
I then decided to check for disk errors using Scandisk but the process went on indefinitely and the red light on the drive kept flashing rapidly but nothing happened.
I can format the drive using the HP link suggested by MGBaur but it gives no option for partitioning.
The red light on the drive is still flashing constantly and the only way to stop it is to turn off my computer.
Matthew
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Try the following. Run Drive Backup with flash drive connected, then right click on HDD - check if there is View\Edit sectors option availbale.
If yes open it and fill with zeroes the entire flash drive content.
Then save changes and close Drive Backup.
Disconnect flash drive and reconnect it. Does Windows Disk Management detect it as empty drive?
If yes, right click on free space and try to create new partition of smaller size.

Author

Commented:
Hi noxcho
I have done as you suggested and can see ViewEdit sectors and can fill in zeroes but am not sure how to save the changes. I have tried all the options I can see but nothing seems to work, I'm obviously doing something wrong. Can you help?
Thanks
Matthew
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
When you make any changes to sectors the save changes option does light green. Look the screen shot I made.
Also, make sure that you are saving changes on right drive.
save-option.PNG

Author

Commented:
Hi noxcho
I have the screen you have printed but the large tick is not active, it is greyed out. But I think I have missed something here, how do you fill the drive with zeroes?
Matthew

Commented:
Hello Medcomputers:

Please try this link
http://www.lancelhoff.com/multi-partition-a-usb-flash-drive-in-windows/
This utility makes changes to the drive itself another way is to make changes to the registry but then multi partitioning will only work with the OS that has those changes; see:
http://www.lancelhoff.com/make-windows-see-any-usb-flash-drive-as-local-disk/

Please read the related articles!!!
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
@MGBaur, the links were gave already by uucknaaa, seemingly that did not work.
Medcomputers, just click on the first value in the filled that has zero or letter and then press zero on your keyboard. It will change the current value to zero.
Keep it pressed and it will start filling zeroes.

Author

Commented:
Hi noxcho
I see what you mean but isn't there a quicker way of filling with zeroes? There are 32,563,136 sectors on my USB (16GB) and it is going to take a VERY long time to fill with zeroes by holding the 0 key down.
Thanks
Matthew
PS I can't see any way of selecting all to fill with zeros in one go.
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
I think if you delete partition from this flash drive and then erase first two - three sectors. This should be enough.

Author

Commented:
Hi noxcho
I've done everything you suggest but I'm afraid it has made no difference. I filled the first 6 sectors with zeroes, saved changes, rebooted drive then checked in computer management. This showed an empty raw drive with the only option to format which I did. I'm now back to square one with a removable FAT 32 disk. I guess there is nothing else I can do?
Matthew
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Looks like the entire drive should be filled with zeros. I know the only way to do it - wipe.
Try this one: http://www.roadkil.net/program.php?ProgramID=14
Or get patient and fill via View\Edit sectors entire falsh drive. Press the Enter with some weighty thing and leave it for some time.

Author

Commented:
Hi noxcho
Great minds think alike. I was trying to think of something heavy to weigh down the zero key but thought that was crazy, also couldn't think of anything small and heavy. Then I did a rough calaculation assuming it took 1 minute to fill one sector it would take over 1 year to complete! You need to maintain a sense of humour with computers I think.
However I'm now running Roadkil as you suggest. It is still going to take a long time to complete but considerably less than a year. Looks like an hour or two. I will get back to you as soon as I know the results.
Matthew
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
=))))) LOL. One year of sector zeroing.

Author

Commented:
Hi noxcho
Diskwipe speeded up and is now complete. I asked it to write a blank disk, not random data, and operation was successfully completed. Still no change in computer management however, disk is healthy and only option is to format. Do you thin that is that?
Thanks
Matthew
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Very strange, just was testing my USB flash drive of 512MB that behaves like yours. But in my case wiping (same as writing zeroes there) did the trick.
Open it via View\Edit sectors, is the drive filled with zeroes?

Author

Commented:
Hi noxcho
No it is not all filled with zeroes. It is mostly but there are some random areas still with data/characters.Shall I run diskwipe again? Should I write random data or stick to blank disk?
Matthew
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Should be blank.
As a result you should get unpartitioned HDD of 16GB in WDM.
Sometimes Seagate\Maxtor tools are helpful to fill it with zeroes automatically. Try that too as manual filling would take ages as you told.

Author

Commented:
Hi noxcho
Just to keep you up to date. I ran diskwipe again but still have same problem. I'm currently trying Active KillDisk for DOS v 4.1 which I found on UBCD. It's currently saying it will take around 6 hours but it keeps going up and down. God knows how long it would take on a 1tb drive! Maths says about two weeks, not so bad after all! I'll let you know what happens when I know.
Thanks
Matthew

Commented:
Hey ..

Short of using duct tape and finding USB slots that match the way you have your USB Drives taped together ... I did find this.  Did you know that you can format your USB Drive for NTFS.  Then you may be able to do some partitioning things that you couldn't with FAT.

What you do is go into the Device Manager and select your USB under the Disk Drives section.  Right Click and choose properties.  Then select the Policies Tab.  Once there, choose "Optimize for performance".  Exit the Device Manager, and go into Windows Explorer.  Right Click your USB Drive and when you select Format, you'll see NTFS as one of the File System types.

From what I read, the idea is to setup multiple partitions on the USB.  I couldn't see anything that would work in the Storage Section of Computer Management, so I tried Paragon.  I was able to setup two partitions using Paragon, and assign a drive letter to the first partition.  Can't get the 2nd partition to retain a drive letter.

So, back to the duct tape idea, or another partition manager like Gparted.

Hope this helps.  At least nobody should be getting bored with this project. :)
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Nice idea uucknaaa, with tools like Paragon you can switch drive letters quickly so that could be a way out.
In my understanding absolutely blank flash drive could allow to create several partitions on the drive.

Author

Commented:
Hi guys
Diskwipe from UBCD took about 10 hours to write zeroes. Checked in Paragon and drive was full of zeroes but it has made no difference. Also tried formatting with NTFS, did not help. I can format one 4gb partition but then I get error message I received at the beginning:
File system has allocation errors due to cross-linked files. Run OS built in tools for checking and correcting this kind of error. Additional error info said the error source was Hard Disk Manager with error code 0x10018.
When I get a minute I'm going to try Gparted but I tnink comment made by gtworek is correct, you cannot partition USB pen drives. I dont understand why you can't do this especially as these drives become quite large, it is something that needs addressing.
Matthew
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
It depends on USB pen drive. I burnt my 8GB Transcend pen drive recently but it had two partitions on it. And I formatted it with Drive Backup.

Author

Commented:
Hi guys
I'm not sure how to allocate points on this one. I haven't had a chance to try Gparted yet and I think I'm going to give up on trying to partition this particular USB drive. It sounds to me that it will work on some USB drives but not on others. I'm going to try Paragon on another new USB drive when I get a minute and will let you know the results as soon as possible.
Matthew

Commented:
So your problem is not resolved... right?
This happens sometimes :)
Commented:
I think medcomputers is referring to the particular USB drive that has been having the problem.  I just partitioned a Crucial 1GB Gizmo! into 2 partitions using the method I mentioned in my first post.  That is:

http://www.lancelhoff.com/multi-partition-a-usb-flash-drive-in-windows/

I've also had some success I mentioned in post 24895919.  There I used the Paragon Utilities and on a separate instance used Gparted.

Also, noxcho has succeeded building a multi partition USB drive in his post 24903214.  So I think we were successful in most cases.  But we did have a problem with the one USB drive that medcomputers is using.  

As you mentioned, it happens sometimes.

Author

Commented:
Hi guys
I have been able to partition a brand new 8GB USB drive into 4 partitions using Paragon DriveBackup. I tried using BootIt to flip the drive but it just did nothing. My problem now is that the drive letters for the partitions will not hold and I'm left with one 2gb drive. Paragon is telling me that each partition is formatted and healthy but when I assign drive letters and apply changes I have to reboot for the changes to take effect and then the drive letters disappear.
As an allied problem what happens when you get to Z and you try to add more drives?
Thanks
Matthew

Commented:
You can map disks as folders instead of letters. In such case you have no letter limits.
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
medcomputers, edit the Windows settings as told by uucknaaa in his post. The same link again: http://www.lancelhoff.com/make-windows-see-any-usb-flash-drive-as-local-disk/
Since then all partitions will be able to get drive letters. It should work when you next reconnect the drive.

Author

Commented:
Hi noxcho:
I take it that I have to remove the 4 partitions I've created and start again? At the moment the drive is just showing a 2gb drive and there is nothing on line26 of the cfadisk.inf file.It is just empty.
Matthew
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Yes, delete first all partitions. You will be able to recreate them later using same Drive Backup.
As you make necessary changes reformat the drive and try to assign drive letters.

Author

Commented:
Hi everyone
Apologies for delay in posting. Noxcho: I have finally formatted and partitioned my new 8gb drive into 4 sections with appropriate drive letters. The problem now is that it only works with the computer where I have created the partitions. Any other computer only picks up the first 2gb partition. It is also particularly disappointing in that my purpose in doing this was to install 4 lots of educational software on one drive each of which needed only 2gb of space. What I did not realise is that in order for all the applications to run they need exclusive access to the root of the drive. Each partition I have created has a folder with setup information in the root and this is stopping all the software I have installed on each partition from running! I think it is now time to give up and just buy 4x2gb USB drives instead.
However I have learnt a lot throughout this exercise and I think Paragon Drive Backup is an excellent bit of sotware and I'm sure I will be using it again. My advice to anyone wanting to partition a USB pen drive is DON'T, at the moment it is neither practical or justifiable. Basically gtworek: you are right.
Thanks everyone for your help and I hope you feel my allocation of points is fair.
Matthew

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