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OutOfMem
openSUSE 11.4
Premium
join:2001-05-11

2 edits

[XPPro] Cannot access 2nd partition on USB drive

I have a 1-GB USB flash drive that I partitioned under Linux (using GParted) into two FAT32 partitions. The first partition is 256 MB, and it holds a bootable USB version of SystemRescueCD, which works fine when I tell any computer's BIOS to boot from the USB flash drive. The 2nd partition is simply the remainder of the stick, which is roughly around 700 MB. I use this partition for storing temporary files, documents, configuration files, and so forth.

[     sys (256 MB)         |                    files (700 MB)                        ]
 

However, under Windows XP SP2, only the first partition (256 MB) is assigned a drive letter. When I check within Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Disk Manager, I see that there are in fact two separate partitions on the USB stick, but the 2nd one is unassigned. When I try to assign it a drive letter, it tells me that the drive is not "activated". Even after rebooting the computer, the same issue happens.

I popped the stick into 3 different Linux computers, and both partitions can be accessed (read and write) without any issues.

I wish to have this 1-GB USB flash drive as an "emergency disk", with a bootable SystemRescueCD, and enough storage for any additional small files I might need to migrate/save. (In fact, it has worked beautifully in the past, aside from this partition issue on Windows.) The reason I do not want a single partition, is so that I can reformat/reinstall/upgrade/etc the first partition of the drive as many times that I want, without worrying about having to first backup all the files on the second partition.

If there is a way to have both partitions accessible on Windows and Linux, even if it involves destroying all the data on the stick, I would really appreciate the help. (I can always reinstall SystemRescueCD, and I can make a backup this one time of my files, if it means having two accessible partitions on the stick, regardless of operating system.)

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McSummation
Mmmm, Zeebas Are Tastee.
Premium,MVM
join:2003-08-13
Fort Worth, TX
kudos:2

Is the second partition a Primary or a Logical? I should be a Logical.



OutOfMem
openSUSE 11.4
Premium
join:2001-05-11

said by McSummation:

Is the second partition a Primary or a Logical? I should be a Logical.
Nice call. I completely overlooked that. I created both partitions as primary ones. I figured that up to 4 primary partitions (maximum on a msdos partition table scheme) would be fine on a USB stick. I'll redo my setup as a primary partition and a logical partition (within an extended partition).

I will update, hopefully with good news.
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McSummation
Mmmm, Zeebas Are Tastee.
Premium,MVM
join:2003-08-13
Fort Worth, TX
kudos:2

Well, linux isn't all that fussy. However, winders has the funny idea that there should only be one primary active on a "drive" at a time. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.



OutOfMem
openSUSE 11.4
Premium
join:2001-05-11

Click for full size
Error message in Disk Management
I reconfigured my stick so that the 2nd partition is a logical within an extended. Actually, it's technically like this:

Partition 1, Primary, FAT32, 256 MB
Partition 2, Extended
Partition 3, Unused
Partition 4, Unused
Partition 5, Logical, FAT32, 700 MB (within Extended Partition 2)

However, the same issue still arises in Windows XP. Only the 1st partition is displayed under My Computer, and when I check in Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Disk Management, I can see the 2nd partition is once again unassigned. When I try to assign to it a drive letter, I get the same error message. (See the above attachment.) Even after rebooting the computer with the stick still plugged in, the same problem occurs.

I do not have access to a Windows Vista system at the moment, so I am not sure if this is only a problem with XP, or if it will give me the same issue with Vista.

What confuses me is that on an internal SATA or PATA drive, no matter what combination of primary, extended, and logical partitions I use, Windows XP is able to read them and access them just fine. Why would this be any different than partitioning an external USB hard drive or a flash drive?
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janderso1
Jim
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-15
Saint Petersburg, FL

1 edit
reply to OutOfMem

I tried Vista 64 bit and Windows 7 both 32 and 64 bit with the same failure. I then googled

Usb flash partitions

and found this utility they may solve your issue. I haven’t tried it yet.

»www.lancelhoff.com/multi-partiti···windows/
Edit
I just tried it. It work on a USB flash drive. It failed on a SD card in a card reader.

Flash drives are large enough now that partioning them can be useful.
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Jim Anderson



anon

@k2network.net
reply to OutOfMem

Windows cannot access more than the first partition on a USB drive, because it sees it as a removable drive. If you can flip the "removable bit" to make it think it's a hard disk, then you can access partitions 2+



OutOfMem
openSUSE 11.4
Premium
join:2001-05-11

2 edits
reply to janderso1

said by janderso1:

I tried Vista 64 bit and Windows 7 both 32 and 64 bit with the same failure. I then googled

Usb flash partitions

and found this utility they may solve your issue. I haven’t tried it yet.

»www.lancelhoff.com/multi-partiti···windows/
Edit
I just tried it. It work on a USB flash drive. It failed on a SD card in a card reader.

Flash drives are large enough now that partioning them can be useful.
The page is gone when you click on the link. Luckily, a version of the page still exists in Google's cache.

Search Google for:

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

I will try this trick later today and post back with the results.

EDIT: On second thought, if Windows reads the USB stick as a "fixed disk" then how can I do a "Safe Removal" when I wish to unplug the stick?
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asifbaig

@119.152.73.x
reply to OutOfMem

I tried that utility called Bootit but it fails to flip the RMB switch on my USB. Anybody know of any other utilities that can do that?