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Windows 7: USB Partitions on Windows

11 Jun 2012   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
USB Partitions on Windows

What is the policy for Removable USB Drives in Windows?

Does it only recognize the first partition?
Is there any difference between FAT32 and NTFS?

I am asking because time to time, I am not able to see the partitions in Windows, and I wanted to learn about its policy (rules I mean) about Removable USB Drives (What I mean is Flash drives I guess, when the USB Drives are connected; it is not showing up in the drivers, but in Removable Devices).

Can I make a Removable USB Drive to be seen as Regular Drive in Windows?

Thank you!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jun 2012   #2

win 7 X64 Ultimate SP1
USB Partitions

Here Is a couple of links that will help.

Partition a USB-Stick - Microsoft Answers

Partition USB Flash Drives
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jun 2012   #3
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

When splitting up a flash drive here only the first will appear in Windows Explorer regardless of the file system as far as Fat 16/32, NTFS, or exFat the new form of FAT. You'll notice on one of those pages there for the Lexar tool that a separate partitioning program would be needed.

One guide for paritioning a usb flash card, memory card, also flash drives along with a download link for the Lezar tool is seen at How to Partition a USB Flash Card |

One old SF thread is how I made up data recovery sticks out of flash drives being split into a large NTFS front end data partition with a second root partition where a Linux distro is installed. That goes into using GParted necessary for the other OS when parting out the flash drive. Using the "Other OS" For a USB Rescue Device?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

12 Jun 2012   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

Thank you.

I will go home and work on it.

I gotta work on making bootable partitions or at least create a main boot menu, which will let me boot into different partitions.

These were real helpful. If I succeed, I won't have to carry 3 USBs. I might just go on with 1.

I wonder, if I can make this with more than 4 partitions. I mean create the partitions in Gparted for example as a GPT Disk, and make them accessible in Windows by Bootice. If not, I will have to find a way to boot several linux images in the same partition. I don't even know if it is possible. And if not, I will have to find a way just to make the data partition accessible in windows while being able to boot into other partitions. (Trying to boot into Clonezilla, Gparted, Tails, etc. in the same USB while having a data partition on it).

Shortly, gotta work on it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jun 2012   #5
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

I tried the Lexar tool at one time back when the 7 RCs were out and it wasn't practical splitting up a flash drive to begin with since most will go with a smaller then 16gb model. Natively Windows will only see the first partition whether primary or extended even when NTFS is the file system used on multiple partitions.

For splitting anything up generally that would be left to a large capacity hard drive like a 1tb or larger to allow enough drive space. Even there you are limited to 4 primary type partitions while you can see numerous extended volumes.

As for data recovery sticks those will only see two partitions with the second for the other OS's root/file system partition without any swap partition needed for the purpose of a fast live boot to retrieve from a Windows machine when Windows won't even boot into safe mode. You won't use up a lot of memory since you wouldn't be installing programs on the other OS to begin with.

As for booting other OSs programs like Portable VirtualBox allows you to run other OSs once you unpack the program files onto the flash drive and run it from there. When writing a iso to flash drive the program used should be able to make the flash drive bootable as well as write the disk image to the removable drive itself in order to boot live from it when selected from the boot device menu.

GParted is the drive tool used for this since it is versatile being a cross platform partitioning tool for projects like a custom install of the other OS onto a root partition. The warning when creating this type of live usb stick when seen done on a Windows machine is outlined in the old thread there about seeing the root made the "/ mount point" and selecting the flash drive as well as the first NTFS data partition as the place for the Grub loader to be installed to avoid trashing the Windows mbr on the host machine.

Even on a 32gb flash drive only one root partition for only one distro was the idea seeing a 4gb to meet the minimum for various distros while only one was to see a direct install. ubuntu was squeezed onto a 16gb model with the 2.25gb root being the first distro while other larger distros see a 4gb.

This is why the idea is best tried out on the larger capacity models. If you have 300gb of data on a drive you will obviously want the rest of the flash drive reserved for a single first data partition. 24-25gb approximae on a 32gb model.

For splitting up a flash drive in order to run multiple live distros that will prove to be a different project entirely for the other OS. You would need a common swap partition(extended) and a separate root(ext 2, 3, or 4 file journaling system for Linux) which would be unavailable to Windows.

This is why one distro in particular Linux Mint Debian is being looked over since that is supposed to be able to install onto an NTFS volume. Of course that had to be put on hold for trying out on the second OS drive here due to the Windows 8 RP needing a drive to go onto. If I decide against dual booting 7 with 8 later then the drive will be available for giving that idea a lookover.

For a flash drive split up like you want to try out there the installer for each would need to be pointed at each separate root partition(usually an extended volume) and share the same swap as well as boot loader in order to see that work. The EasyBCD program does offer support for some distros like ubuntu but not for others when trying to add a boot entry in just to let you know since that would be the better boot editing tool while many opt for the wubi loader.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jun 2012   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

Thank you for all the information.

I am using GParted and Clonezilla regularly as well as a Linux version too. Now, I am carrying 3 USBs with Linux images on it in FAT32 drives. Therefore, if I need to change any data on the Linux images such as GParted and Clonezilla (such as config files); I can change them without booting into Linux.
What I want to do is having a USB Drive with a boot menu to show my Linux programs and Linux in the boot menu to boot into them. They need to be in different partitions to work. (I know most Linuxs have Gparted on it, but updating and configuring them is very hard if it is not on a separate partition.).
So, if I can have
a Linux
a GParted
a Clonezilla
and another bootable FAT32 Linux
and a FAT32 data partition I will be ok.
My problem is, these days I don't have an internet connection at home, so things aren't easy for me (Can you think of someone who is trying to fix other people's computers without an internet connection at home? That is me!).
Maybe I can create a GPT Disk with GParted or with a Mac. Partition it:
200 MB Boot
"Left Amount" FAT32 Data Partition
200MB Clonezilla
200MB GParted
2.5GB Linux
2.5GB Another Linux (Sometimes necessary)
and while installing the Linux, I can try to install the Grub or Grub2 in the first 200MB Boot partition, and then add the Clonezilla and GParted to the bootmenu. I hope Windows will recognize the 10GB FAT32 Data Partition as the first partition instead of the 200MB Boot Partition though.
But with that way I will have to boot into a Linux to edit the config files of Clonezilla and GParted, which is not a big deal at all.
I will have to try and see.
Now, I have to work on a javascript file, which I lost because of a blue screen.
Blue Screen happened, and when I logged on again, the file was just full of 'null's.
I gotta change the way I am working; collecting all javascript in one file is not a good idea.
Thanks for your reply again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jun 2012   #7

win 7 X64 Ultimate SP1
Alternate Method

I'll throw out another option. But, alas it would have some cost involved. I use this solution my self and it works rather neatly.

Zalman ZM-VE200 (can be had at around $38.00)

Zalman ZM-VE200 HDD enclosure

With that you will need a 2 1/2 drive (I used a 500MB) The price for this will vary according to size and brand.
I load iso's on to this and carry it from computer to computer and boot to multiple configs. Such as Linux, Ubuntu, Win PE, etc. It eliminates CD Rom and Usb sticks. All in one device. I have had good success with it. Just something to think about.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jun 2012   #8
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

500mb or 500gb? There's a large difference. If you are going to run how many distros? at 4-8gb a primary root(not necessarily a primary type but extended) partition for each plus a shared swap(2-4gb optimum) total all that up plus how large you want the data partition to be in order to get an idea on the size of flash drive or even preferred external hard drive or hard drive in usb enclosure.

10 times 4gb is 10 distros on 4gb roots at 40gb. Then add a 10gb data partition along with a good one or two swap partitions to come in at the need for a 64gb flash drive. Those typically run about $150- for the top brands while prices for them are now dropping sharply below $100.

A year ago $50 for a 32gb while newegg saw the same for $64- approx. now sees $50 for a Kingston DT 64gb model. Time for me to start shopping for a larger data recovery stick!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jun 2012   #9

win 7 X64 Ultimate SP1
Gig Not Meg

Typo! I have several Iso loaded onto it (It requires the iso you boot from to be loaded in ?:\iso directory. I use the rest for various files that I can carry with me. Some files are portable exe that I use for trouble shooting (Such as portable apps).
It's never let me down. Sorry for the misstatement in size.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jun 2012   #10
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

You are mounting the iso directly on virtual optical drive rather then seeing a direct install to flash drive. That could be done as well with the Portable VirtualBox. I tried the 7 RC out as well on a flash drive back in 2009. How To Install Windows 7 On USB Flash Drive
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 USB Partitions on Windows

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