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Out of the box, Windows will not allow you to partition a USB Thumb / Flash Drive. How can you do this?

In case anyone is wondering Why you would do this?

It's interesting in the case of a BitLocker ToGo drive where you can take a large thumbdrive (like 4 or 8 GB) and format a small amount of the drive to be used normally as a Fat32 drive and leave the remaining partition encrypted using BitLocker. This allows you to keep some non secret data on the unencrypted partition(like portable apps).

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Use a Linux box to create the partition table. :) –  Eddie May 4 '09 at 15:38
    
Or a mac (I think) –  Chopper3 May 4 '09 at 15:39
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In the future, you should specify OS for this kind of question –  Diablomarcus Dec 5 '09 at 6:05
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The fact he is asking about bitlocker tells me that its windows. –  Saint Gerbil Oct 21 '13 at 9:36
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6 Answers

Just use your favourite partitioning tool - Either Disk Management on Windows, or Gparted on *nix, or other - They should all understand USB flash drives, and you simply partition as if it was any other hard drive.

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Disk Management on Windows 7 doesn't seem to repartition, though diskpart as mentioned in another answer does. –  paulmorriss Mar 8 '13 at 9:21
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The Windows disk management tool disables these features for removable flash drives. –  Michael Steele Aug 23 '13 at 22:08
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Out of the box, Windows Vista/7 allows the partition of an USB drive. The command is diskpart.

What is this, are you posting questions and answering them?

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Answering your own questions is encouraged. It helps create a complete database of solutions here. –  Brent May 4 '09 at 15:58
    
You can't partition a USB drive that's marked as removable, it requires removing the removable bit first. diskpart won't partition a removable drive such as most USB thumb drives, hence my question –  Omar Shahine May 4 '09 at 17:14
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I am not sure what Windows version you are using, but I have no problems using diskpart on Windows Vista/7 to partitioning flash drives (diskpart, select drive, clean, create partition primary, select partition #, active, format, assign, exit) –  user4553 May 4 '09 at 18:53
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I am coming from a linux perspective, so I would just use cfdisk or if you like a gui, gparted.

You could keep a live CD such as Ubuntu handy for doing these sort of things. Just boot from the CD, do what you have to do, reboot to windows. (it's also great as an emergency rescue solution)

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You can use Windows cmd.exe: run it as administrator and use console utility diskpart.exe to partition the drive. Manual: http://ss64.com/nt/diskpart.html

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One way to do this is using a tool called BootIt. this tool removed the removable bit on the thumb / flash drive and allows you to partition the drive.

I'm sure there are better ways to do this, but this is the only one I can think of.

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Windows must be able to recognize the flash drive as a "fixed disk."

This is accomplished by either flipping the removable bit (which doesn't always work), or modifying the cfadisk.c, and .inf files, assuming you're on XP. (You must know how to code for the latter.)

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