Create a Hidden Partition on USB Flash Drive
There are many ways and tools to hide or protect data on a USB Flash Drive.Some of these tools create a file container of desired size which can then be mounted using a password.Some other tools encrypt the data.Another option is to zip or rar the important data with a password.
However, I am not very comfortable with the above methods of protecting or hiding data.
- File Containers and Encrypted Files can be deleted
- Password protected compressed files attract attention
- Data is lost when the USB Flash Drive is formatted
To overcome the above problems you can create a hidden partition on your USB Drive.
The main advantage of this method is that the Hidden Partition and the data in it stays on the USB Drive even after formatting your USB Drive.
In this tutorial I will be using Fbinst to create a hidden partition on a USB Flash Drive.
- Backup all the data on your USB Flash Drive
- Download Fbinst Tool .Read more about Fbinst
- Extract the downloaded archive.
- Execute FbinstTool.exe. You will get a User Account Control Dialog Box.Click Yes.
- Change the language of the user interface to English
ReFormat USB Flash Drive
- Select your USB Drive.
- Go to Boot Config and click on Format Options
- Select force and Extended .In the box next to the Extended enter the size of the Hidden Partition in Megabytes.
- In the screenshot I have entered 200 as I wanted a hidden partition of size 200mb.
- Leave other settings as it is.
Add Files to Hidden Partition
Now that you have reformatted your USB Drive you can add important files to your hidden partition.
You can observe a file called PartitionTable.pt.In the status bar you can see the free size available in the primary and extended area.Primary area is of no concern to us.Only the extended free space is important.The extended area is the hidden partition in your USB Drive.
- Right Click in the empty space and click on Import file to Extended Data Area .Here select your important file.
- You can now see the file in the Fbinst Window.
Access files on the Hidden Partition
Accessing the files in the Hidden Partition is easy.
- Open FbinstTool.exe and it lists out the files in the hidden partition.
- Right click on the file that you want to access and click on export.You should select a location to save your important file.
- Once the file is exported you can access the file from the location you specified.
- If you make any changes to your file,then re-import it using the instructions in the previous step.
You cannot directly open files from the Hidden Partition.However you can rename or delete files in the hidden partitions by right clicking on the files in the FbinstTool window.
- The Hidden Partition can be accessed from Ubuntu or Linux. Install Fbinst in Ubuntu
- The Hidden Partition remains even after formatting the USB Flash Drive from Windows Explorer or Dos.In fact all formatting tools which format based on drive letter will not affect the hidden partition.
- The hidden partition may get deleted only if some advanced Formatting tools or Partitioning tools are used.
- If you want further protection for your files,then you can zip it with a password and store it in the hidden partition.This way even if somebody has FbinstTool ,they wont be able to access your important files.