How to Partition a USB Flash Drive
A USB Flash Drive can be easily partitioned into a maximum of 4 partitions.All the partitions can also be accessed in Windows easily.This is possible using a tool called Bootice.
Why Partition a USB Flash Drive?
- Only the first partition is visible in Windows.So the other partitions can be used to hide data from Windows Users
- All Partitions are visible in Linux.So partitioning your USB Flash Drive will be useful if you only want your Linux friends to access data on your USB Flash Drive.
- A regular windows format cannot delete the other partitions.So an average computer user can never delete the data in the other partitions
- You can carry bootable Linux Distros and PEs in the other partitions.
Important Facts about Windows and USB Storage Devices
- USB Flash Drives cannot be partitioned using Windows Disk Management
- USB Hard Disks can be partitioned using Windows Disk Management
- Third Party Tools can partition a USB Flash Drive. But all partitions will not be visible.Only the first partition will be visible
- All partitions of a USB Flash Drive are visible in Linux
- Filter Drivers can make USB Flash Drives appear as USB Hard Disks.Hence filter drivers allow us to partition a USB Flash Drive using Windows Disk Management.Also all the partitions of the USB Flash Drive are mounted in Windows Explorer with Drive letters.
One main disadvantage of using Filter drivers is that a reboot is required before all the partitions of a USB Flash Drive can be accessed.So if you are using some other computer,you cannot quickly access data on your other partitions.This problem is solved by using Bootice.
Filter drivers like Diskmod do not require a reboot.
Partitioning a USB Flash Drive in Windows using Bootice
- Download Bootice from http://bootice.narod.ru/ or Google Code
- Insert your USB Flash Drive and backup all your data.Run Bootice.exe
- Select your USB Flash Drive and click on Parts Manage.
- In the Partitions Management Window click on ReFormat USB Disk.
- Under the Disk Mode select USB-HDD Mode(Multi-Partitions).Under Partition Alignment Mode select Align to Cylinder.Click on Next.
- In the Partition Format Window enter the Size, FileSystem and Vol Label for the partitions on the USB Flash Drive.You can have a maximum of four partitions.Click OK.You will get a few Dialog Boxes.Just click on Yes and Ok
- You can now see that your USB Flash Drive has been partitioned.
Accessing the partitions of USB Flash Drive in Windows
By default only the first partition of your USB Flash Drive shows up in Windows Explorer.
- Follow Steps 1 to 4 under Partitioning a USB Flash Drive in Windows using Bootice
- Under Disk Mode Select the partition you want to access and click on Set Accessible and Click on Cancel.
- You can now access the partition you just set as accessible.You can only access the partitions one by one.If you want to access all the partitions simultaneously you either have to use a filter driver or use a Linux Operating System.
If you don’t want your other partitions to be accessible in Linux, then you can hide it.Follow Steps 1 to 4.Click on the Partition you want to hide in Linux(and in windows with a filter driver) and click on the Hide Button.To unhide it just click on the Unhide Button .