Is it possible to create multiple partitions on a USB flash drive?

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  1. spapakons's Avatar
    Posts : 2,751
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 1909 (November 2019 build 18363.657)
       #1

    Is it possible to create multiple partitions on a USB flash drive?


    Hello!

    I recently used a 16GB USB flash drive to create an installer for a new Linux distro. I noticed that the created partition is 8GB and the rest 8GB is unused. I want to create a second NTFS partition so I can use the USB as a recording medium for my PVR, but Disk Management doesn't give me this option. I then used MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition, which did create the partition but warned that it won't be recognized by Windows as it normally sees only the first partition on a USB Flash drive. I even went back to Disk Management and assigned a drive letter to the second partition, but in Explorer I see only the EFI partition (first, drive is formatted in GPT mode) with that drive letter. Is there any workaround? Of course I could just format the whole drive as NTFS, but I wouldn't like to do so until I don't need the installer anymore.
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  2. Berton's Avatar
    Posts : 8,122
    Win10 Home and Pro, Win10 Insider Preview, WinXP Home Premium, Linux Mint, Win7 Pro
       #2

    I was in a hurry and created the Recovery for Win10 on a 64GB Thumb drive but it automatically formatted only 32GB and put the data on it. Using Disk Management I could not create a second partition in the remaining space, all commands were grayed out. There was a warning Windows would delete all data and reformat. It did exactly that and formatted 32GB as FAT32. Windows has an issue with creating/formatting FAT32 partitions/drives above 32GB or rather anything about 1Byte smaller than 64GB unless doing it as NTFS. I booted to a GPARTED LiveCD and repartitioned the Thumb drive and formatted as FAT32. I've done the same for a USB Hard Disk Drive at 120GB formatted as FAT32 for use with my MacBook Pro OS X 10.x.x, now is at 10.10.5.
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  3. spapakons's Avatar
    Posts : 2,751
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 1909 (November 2019 build 18363.657)
    Thread Starter
       #3

    One little detail. You can create multiple partitions on a USB hard disk, but not on removable drives such as USB flash drives or memory cards. My problem is that I want to use my USB Flash drive without deleting the Linux installer. I want to create a second NTFS partition on the remaining space, but Windows won't recognize it. Is there a workaround? Can I make Windows treat it as a USB hard disk and let me create a second partition?

    Thank you for your reply anyway.
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  4. Posts : 2,735
    Windows 10 Pro X64
       #4

    Hi,

    It is possible to do so but not with the inbuilt Disk Management.
    I used AOMEI's Partitioning software to do this IIRC.
    Not sure it's going to work in this particular situation as I started from a single primary partition that occupied the entire thumb drive but contained just the installation for WIN 10. So I used this software to shrink the primary and then create another one in the empty space.
    Again IIRC the file system was FAT32. It should work using NTFS though.

    Cheers,
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  5. spapakons's Avatar
    Posts : 2,751
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 1909 (November 2019 build 18363.657)
    Thread Starter
       #5

    I managed to create a second partition using MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition, but Windows won't let me access it. So the problem is accessing it, not just creating it.
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  6. Posts : 2,735
    Windows 10 Pro X64
       #6

    Hi,

    I didn't encounter any problem using the drive under Windows 7/8/10.
    That said it may well depend on the thumb drive that's being used. Mine were all Sandisk Cruzer of varying age, plain Cruzer, Edge.

    Of course it will work with a true SDD on a stick but those aren't exactly cheap so far.

    Cheers,
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  7. topgundcp's Avatar
    Posts : 2,616
    MintMate19x64 Win10Prox64
       #7

    There are 2 types of USB sticks. One is recognized as Removable, the other as Basic disk. So it depends on what firmware the stick has. Here's the screen shot of the 2's. Disk 6 & 7 are both 16GB Sandisk Cruzer. Disk 7 is regconized as Basic disk then you can use Disk Management to create a new partition and normally this type of disk is used to create "Windows to go".

    Is it possible to create multiple partitions on a USB flash drive?-.jpg
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  8. Posts : 2,735
    Windows 10 Pro X64
       #8

    Hi,

    Can't quite remember how I pulled this off but here you see two Sandisk Cruzer thumb drives.

    Both are shown as being "Removable", the smaller 4Gb one has been shrunk to isolate it from additional files I intend to add later on.

    Not sure if I can repeat that on some of the more recent Sandisk Cruzer Edge I have but I'll give it a shot and will report back.

    Cheers,
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Is it possible to create multiple partitions on a USB flash drive?-disk-management-scrnshot.jpg  
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  9. Posts : 2,735
    Windows 10 Pro X64
       #9

    Hi again,

    Et voila, the much newer cheapo Sandisk Edge, split in two then shrunk:

    Cheers,
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Is it possible to create multiple partitions on a USB flash drive?-cruzer-edge.jpg  
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  10. topgundcp's Avatar
    Posts : 2,616
    MintMate19x64 Win10Prox64
       #10

    Hi again,

    Et voila, the much newer cheapo Sandisk Edge, split in two then shrunk:
    The problem is that's all you can do. Windows will not allow to assign a letter or regconize it.
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