After writing the FreeNAS IMG to a 16 GB USB flash drive, I can now only use 938 MB. I used the Win32 Disk Imager tool to write the IMG to the device. Then later, when I inserted the the USB drive into my Windows 7 computer it said that it had to be formatted, because it couldn't read it. I believe this is normal. So I formatted it inside Windows using the format option when prompted. So in Windows Explorer now, 938 MB is reported as capacity of this device.

a

Also, when i check the properties dialog box I can see the same numbers.

b

And when I check with diskmgmt.msc I can see there are several volumes I don't recognize and unallocated space of 12.79 GB.

c

Now, I have another 2 GB USB flash drive with the same problem. It too was used for FreeNAS, and it too has a reported capacity of only 938 MB. I thought it was broken there for a while, until I saw the same problem with this 16 GB model.

I tried using diskpart on the 2 GB model, and I saw that there were several partitions there (list partitions) just like on this one. So I used the clean option to try to wipe it, but that wiped off everything so it's totally useless now. I'm not sure how to rebuild it.

Is this a standard routine, like part of the whole "user experience", that whenever you make a bootable USB falsh drive with FreeNAS, it messes up your device? I am new to FreeNAS, so i wouldn't know. But it sure looks like it. Maybe it is in fact the format operation in Windows that messes things up... I don't know. It's not very nice.

How do I restore the capacity back to 16 GB-ish (14.9 GiB)?

up vote 106 down vote accepted

I managed to do it with diskpart. What I was missing is the command to create a new partition. So here is a run-down of all the commands I used, step by step.

Beware that when typing select disk 1 (step 4), your disk number may be different. Selecting the incorrect disk might erase your whole computer's main disk drive, losing all your data on it.

I assume you know how to get to the Run prompt since you have arrived at SU. But if not, just press and hold down the Windows key on your keyboard. While still holding the Windows key, press the R key. Voilà! La Run prompt! L'invite de commande!

  1. cmd
  2. diskpart
  3. list disk
  4. select disk 1 (Careful! Choose the correct number here. See note above.)
  5. list partition (Inspect the results to double-check this is the right disk)
  6. clean
  7. list partition (There should be none)
  8. create partition primary
  9. list partition (There should be one)
  10. format fs=fat32 quick
  11. list partition (There should still be one)
  12. exit

In case you haven't realised it yet, you have to press the Enter key on your keyboard after each command line above.

Here it is now:

a

Shows up as a 14.6 GB drive.

b

And it looks good in diskmgmt.msc too. So it's all good now.

  • 12
    If you try to use these commands on your own computer, make sure to select the correct number for "select disk 1". Yours might be at a different number, and not 1, so you don't end up deleting wrong partitions. – Samir May 13 '14 at 11:32
  • 1
    I always had to resort to a Mac, or another Linux computer, but this really helped me out. Thanks! – Pred Jun 29 '15 at 15:35
  • 2
    I'm glad it helped. But you know, technically... a Mac is not a Linux computer! ;-) – Samir Jun 29 '15 at 17:13
  • 2
    Proceed with caution! Don't select the incorrect disk. Double check the capacities in list disk before you select. – Ryan R Oct 19 '15 at 3:52
  • 1
    This work for me too. But need to caution while selecting the disk. – Bikram Shrestha May 30 '16 at 3:08

When you write an image to a flashdrive, it will create the partition based on the specifications on the image. In your case it creates a partition of 938 MB.

Because flashdrives will only show the first partition, you cannot access the rest. However, using computer management->Disk management, you normally can increase the partition and include the unallocated space. Seeing your image, it may not be possible with this particular image unless you somehow made an error when trying to flash the image.

Try to remove all but the F: Partition, then right click it, and use enlarge.

It is possible the image won't work anymore, but you can always delete all partitions and flash the image again.

  • Its important to point out this limitation of only reading the first partition is mainly on Windows. – Ramhound May 13 '14 at 11:23
  • I don't need it to boot, don't need it anymore. I just wanted my USB flash drive back and working again, with all of its bits and bytes, under Windows. – Samir May 13 '14 at 11:26
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    "flashdrives can only have 1 partition"[citation needed]. I haven't tried, but every flash drive I've seen has come as a MBR-partitioned device so there should be no reason why it can't have multiple partitions. Maybe this is an artificial limitation in Microsoft Windows? – Michael Kjörling May 13 '14 at 11:36
  • @MichaelKjörling My bad. I mean only the first partition will be visible in windows. – LPChip May 13 '14 at 14:51
  • You can mount more than one partition--it's just not always mounted by default, and you have to go into disk management. Also, LPChip, please edit your answer rather than just correcting mistakes in the comments. – trlkly Oct 2 '14 at 9:24

It seems you have accidentally deleted a major partition on your removable disk. Create a partition in order to utilize the full capacity.

You will not be able to create a partition in Windows, so use a third-party software like EaseUS Partition Master Home. This version is free. For help with this, you can check out my blog.

  • Thanks! It's always good to have several options available in the tool set. But in this case, diskpart did the trick. I did encounter some minor error when I created the partition, but I think that was because I aborted the format command once, because it was not flagged to perform a quick format, and I didn't want to wait very long. So the next time I tried to format it reported something about uncompleted... something. So I rebooted into command prompt mode (safe mode) in Windows 8 and to my surprise diskpart was available there too. So that's all good, all nice. – Samir May 13 '14 at 11:30
  • good.I have faced this problem and solved by using ease us partition master. – A. Prasad May 13 '14 at 11:32
  • I personally use Acronis Disk Director 11 for my partitioning needs in Windows. Because the diskmgmt.msc pretty much sucks. I'm not familiar with Ease US Partition Master. I will have a look at it. They even have a payed Pro version, so that's nice. Since I have had problems with and complaining to Acronis about their very outdated Disk Director 11 and they have yet to update it, I might switch to that one. It reminds me of early versions of Disk Director. It's sad that not even Windows 8 has a proper partitioning tool. – Samir May 13 '14 at 11:38
  • You can try this till now i don't have any problem with free version. i think no need to purchase if you are using for home PC/Laptop. – A. Prasad May 13 '14 at 11:41
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    what a stupid thing! it asks you to pay in order to perform operation. SPAAAM! – Madrugada Nov 1 '16 at 17:15

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