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Thread: HOWTO: Partition a flash drive for LiveUSB and Windows accessable storage

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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb HOWTO: Partition a flash drive for LiveUSB and Windows accessable storage

    Most methods of creating a single partition liveUSB have two shortcomings:

    1. The spare space on the drive is not available for storage from within the live environment (without persistence workarounds).

    2. The / of the live environment is exposed in Windows, making it more likely files will be deleted or changed, and harder to find your everyday files.

    Attempting to use multiple partitions will only work if the first partition recognised by Windows is the storage partition (other partitions are not recognised or ignored)

    To get around these issues, partition using GParted (System->Administration->Partition Editor) in the following order:

    1. Delete existing partitions
    2. Create fat32 (etc. Windows readable) partition using all but 800mb
    2. Create fat32 partition (it won't really matter for a non-persistent /) using the remaining space

    The first partition will now be recognised by Windows as the storage space.

    To install the liveUSB environment, run Unetbootin AS ROOT (required to install bootloader into flash mbr) and select the second partition as the install destination.

    Voila, safe from accidental damage liveUSB, Windows & Linux friendly storage space.

    Based on many attempts on my 8Gb flash drive, happy to hear of other approaches that achieve the same ends.

  2. #2
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    Re: HOWTO: Partition a flash drive for LiveUSB and Windows accessable storage

    This was posted to tips and tutorials, but the mods have put it in general help where it can be promptly buried and of no help to anyone. Can it be moved back please?

    Thanks

  3. #3
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    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: HOWTO: Partition a flash drive for LiveUSB and Windows accessable storage

    Thank you! I am tying this on my 4GB flash drive now.

  4. #4
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    Re: HOWTO: Partition a flash drive for LiveUSB and Windows accessable storage

    I tried it with the first partiton being 3.01GB and the next filling the rest something like 750MB. I used Unetbootin to install 9.10 on the 750MB partition everything checked out. Looked in Gparted and it's bootable. But when going my PC's boot menu I go to Harddisk and it only shows my internal HDD. There is a USB-ZIP entry but it doesn't appear to do anything. I have the PHOENIX Award BIOS v6 on a Emachines W3650. Any help? For now I am going to reformat to 1 partition unbootable.

  5. #5
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    Re: HOWTO: Partition a flash drive for LiveUSB and Windows accessable storage

    Some computers default to hard drive even if you change boot order in CMOS setup (BIOS). You may also have to hit a specific key during your computer's splash screen to boot something else. That is probably for safety, so you do not boot from CD, etc. unless you specifically intend to.

    It is like that on an older Dell work laptop and a new Dell I just bought for someone else. I did a regular installation of 64-bit Ubuntu 9.10 on a USB drive. Even if USB is before hard drive in boot order, it will not boot USB unless I press F12 and select USB (other computers may use F10 or Esc). If hard drive is before USB in boot order, it boots Win7 on main hard drive, regardless of pressing F12 and selecting USB.

    The only virus I ever caught was a boot sector virus, Stoned Empire Monk (Monkey) spread by floppy disks before the internet as we know it. It was on a refurbished computer and its Win3.1 boot floppy. It spread by infecting any floppy inserted in the computer and infected the mbr of anyone who started their computer without removing an infected floppy. It moved and XOR'd the partition table, which interfered which repartitioning or reformatting. A CD or DVD could do the same thing, which is why many computers ask you to press a key if you really want to boot CD/DVD.

    PS: Older computers might not boot directly from USB, and check any other BIOS settings related to USB. There may be another USB setting about legacy or auto that can affect it.
    Last edited by efflandt; December 29th, 2009 at 10:44 PM.

  6. #6
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    Re: HOWTO: Partition a flash drive for LiveUSB and Windows accessable storage

    I didn't change any BIOS settings. I just hit F10 and before when I didn't partition the drive it showed in harddrive as Sandisk 4GB USB and USB-ZIP wasn't there before. Now after the partition then it doesn't show in Harddrive and a USB-ZIP entire is there that just takes me to my POST screen then continues booting as normal.

    I am using WUBI to boot Ubuntu.

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