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Is it possible to have a 2 partition Flash drive that looks like the following:

  • A partition that is bootable to OS X (this will require a GUID partition table)
  • A second partition formatted either FAT32 or NTFS that is readable on both OS X and various flavors of Windows

I have set up a disk using Disk Utility on the Mac, and it boots fine with a second FAT32 partition... but Windows does not see it. Any flavor of Windows wants to format the entire drive.

Has anyone done this, and if so, can you explain the steps you followed?

EDIT: Making it bootable is no problem. I have that. I'm wondering how to make the second partition on a Flash drive visible to Windows. It's possible that the "second partition" is the problem, and I need Windows to be first, and HFS to be second. I'll try that tonight.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Unfortunately, the windows accessable partition must be the first partition on a thumb drive or windows will not mount it. Linux installs can get around this limitation by putting the bootloader configuration files on the windows partition and everything else on the second partition. I'm not sure if you can do this with Mac though. My Mac is to old to try (as it is PPC based.)

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The Geniuses at the Apple stores use external USB drives that boot to Mac OS X. So it's possible.

iHackintosh shows you how. rEFIt helps to make drives bootable for Mac and Windows. You'll need something like it in order to keep the two partition managers (Mac and Windows/Linux) in sync.

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Yup, totally doable, I had an external drive with fat32, bootalbe os x, and ext3, I had to do it manually (format the thing with some notes about making sure it will work with how os x does thngs, then partiiton again in Os x). –  Ronald Pottol Sep 12 '09 at 2:23
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