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I have a 64 GiB USB thumb drive I wish to partition into 4 GiB Linux distro + 60 GiB unallocated space.

However, Rufus merges these two partitions when I try to create the bootable Linux distro on the 4 GiB partition.

Before: 4 GiB + 60 GiB

After: 64 GiB

At this point, Windows 10's Disk Management tool will not let me shrink the volume either.

How do I prevent Rufus from partitioning my USB thumb drive without my permission?

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Rufus developer here.

First of all, Rufus tries to prominently display the partitions it is going to delete, with two major prompts, one asking for confirmation that you really want to erase the drive (with that prompt mentioning ALL the partitions that Windows can see, and not just the first one) and a second prompt, whenever multiple partitions are detected, that tells you that Rufus has detected more than one partition and asking you whether you really want to delete a drive that contains multiple partitions.

In other words, you get two very prominent prompts allowing you to cancel the operation before Rufus does anything, so it's hard to see where your "without my permission" comes from, as Rufus asks you for it twice if your drive contains more than one partition, and at least once if there's only one partition. So please be mindful about misrepresenting what Rufus does (which can be very easily validated), when it was very much designed to always ask for user permission before repartitioning a drive.

Now, with regards to your underlying question, what you are seeking to do (partition preservation) is not a feature that we plan to ever provide in Rufus. This is detailed in the FAQ here as well as here. So if you want to preserve one of the partition of your drive, I will respectfully ask that you use a different utility.

On the other hand, if what you are interested in is adding persistence for a Linux "Live" image, please note that we do have an enhancement request for that, which is low priority, but which we plan to complete eventually... Once this feature is implemented, you will still not be able to preserve partitions, but you will be able to allocate some space, in the form of a persistent partition.

  • I just checked, there is no second prompt. I used Rufus 3.1.1320. Whether this is because Rufus did not detect multiple partitions, or that the prompt doesn't exist, I don't know. There is a first prompt that "ALL DATA ON 'DRIVE_LABEL (F:) [64 GB] WILL BE ERASED". This first prompt indicates that all data on my partition with drive letter F: will be erased; it does not indicate that it will erase all data on the drive itself and create a new partition. That's a user interface problem. But thank you for your lengthy answer, now I know I can't prevent Rufus from behaving this way. – Mossmyr Sep 18 '18 at 10:10
  • Perhaps it doesn't detect multiple partitions because the second "partition" is just unallocated space? – Mossmyr Sep 18 '18 at 10:14
  • Yes. If what you call the second "partition" is just unallocated space, then of course Rufus will not tell you that it's going to delete multiple partitions because, contrary to what you assume, there is only one partition on your drive. But you still got a very prominent prompt asking for your permission before destroying all data on the drive. – Akeo Sep 18 '18 at 10:39

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