I now have a problem seeing and accessing some partitions on my flash disk after it has been repartitioned with the fdisk utility under the Debian Linux.

I repartitioned my 16GB flash disk into two primary partitions with one being 4GiB in size and the other one taking the rest of the available space. I wrote the changes to the disk using fdisk with root privileges and formatted the two partitions with "mkfs -t ntfs" command.

The two partitions can be mounted and written to under the Debian, but when I plug the flash disk into another PC with Windows 7, only the first 4G partition can been seen and and used. When I try to identify the disk in the System Management Panel, I can see the two partitions, but only the first 4G one was assigned a disk label.

I tried to repartition the disk again with one primary NTFS partition and other numbers of logical partitions. The problem persists. What seems to be the problem?

up vote 1 down vote accepted

This is a known issue with Windows specifically.

Windows treats USB flash drives differently than it treats USB hard drives. Flash drives are not "supposed" to be partitioned, therefore Windows only supports the first one. No other OS has this limitation.

If you absolutely need to use multiple partitions in Windows, you must use a flash drive that has its removable media bit (RMB) set. Windows sees these flash drives as USB hard disks and can work with as many partitions as you like. Unfortunately, this is a feature of the flash drive's firmware and there is little you can do about it.

Lexar has a tool on their web site that can change the bit's state. Some SanDisk flash drives have it set by default. But these are exceptions, not the rule. Unless you're lucky enough to have a flash drive with the RMB set, you cannot work with multiple partitions in Windows.

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