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I used to have a U3 memory stick that came with two partitions, the FAT32 one with data and one that acted like a CD drive so that the executable in it ran automatically under Windows. How can I make my memory stick have two partitions like this forcibly so that I can have a read-only part of my memory stick that also runs the auto-run automatically in Windows?

I'm perfectly confident with using tools like GParted, and the like too.

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Is the read-only a requirement, or would one partition with some autorunning apps be sufficient? (I guess you could mark them read-only files but that doesn't stop deletions obviously) – Shinrai May 11 '11 at 16:13
Just running apps would be good. Read-only is not necessary, thanks. – Tom Leese May 11 '11 at 16:17
Have a look here: – Sandeep Bansal May 11 '11 at 16:29
@Sandeep - That looks like a potentially useful tool, if you have a drive it actually supports. Why didn't you make that an answer? – Shinrai May 11 '11 at 16:47
Yes, it does look very interesting! – Tom Leese May 11 '11 at 16:48

I've used Portable Apps to great success before. Basically it lets you install portable versions of applications (and they have compatibility fixes for TONS of them) and run them directly from their launcher utility.

The installer for the utility should set it up as an autorun, unless they've changed this since the last time I used it. In the event that it doesn't, this is easy enough to set up, but note that it varies from OS to OS. In particular, old fashioned autorun.inf won't work under Windows 7 anymore. There's a good bit of detail on this here and also here. To get autorun working under Windows 7 requires special firmware on the drive and/or some specialty software preinstalled on the machine.

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The problem is that I want the autorun to start automatically. In Windows, the autorun is not started the moment the USB stick is put in because of security reasons. U3 got around this by making a CD partition on their USB sticks, and that is what I'm wanting to do on a generic USB stick. – Tom Leese May 11 '11 at 16:24
@TomMan - See the edits I was in the process of writing. You never specified Windows 7 - that's a very different animal, unfortunately. (And I believe the U3 functionality is not just simple partitioning, unfortunately, but some firmware trickery as well to report the partition type differently.) – Shinrai May 11 '11 at 16:26
Sorry about that. Thanks for the links, I shall look into those. – Tom Leese May 11 '11 at 16:28

You can partition an USB stick like any drive using disk manager in Windows. To autorun something, you need some magic with the autorun.inf file. Documented by MS here

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