Storage forum


How to flip the removable bit on USB flash drives?

by Eagle_11 / August 5, 2012 3:48 AM PDT

Hello everyone,

So there is this one USB drive that i carry with me all the time (32 GB), now i want to make 2 partitions on it to do a full installation of Ubuntu on partition 1 while keeping partition 2 for regular storage.
So i would make Ubuntu primary and the storage logical.

My problem is that a bootable partition needs to be primary while Windows only shows the primary partition of a pendrive (or the first logical if no primary exists).

I did LOTS of research on Google and found this:
- Solution 1: Fool Windows by changing your pendrive's drivers in the registry.
- Solution 2: Flip the removable bit of your pendrive.

Solution 2 is perfect for me, because it works on all computers.
I tried this many times with Lexar BootIt, without succes.
I also read you could do it manually too by setting bit 7 of byte 1 to 0 with a HEX-Editor, or something like that.

My drive is the PNY Attache Hook with the following specs (by ChipGenius):
Description: [E:]USB-device for mass storage(General USB Flash Disk)
Device Type: Mass Storage Device
Protocal Version: USB 2.00
Current Speed: High Speed
Max Current: 500mA
USB Device ID: VID = 090C PID = 1000
Serial Number: 0310120200025447
Device Vendor: General
Device Name: USB Flash Disk
Device Revision: 1100
Manufacturer: General
Product Model: USB Flash Disk
Product Revision: 1100
Chip Vendor: SMI
Chip Part-Number: SM3257ENAA - ISP 111129-AA-
Flash ID Code: ECDE98CE - Samsung - 4CE/Single Channel [TLC-8K] -> Total Capacity = 32GB
Tools on web:
(this is site refers to a Russian site -_-)

How to flip the removable bit of a pendrive?
(without Lexar's tool)

Thanks in advance,

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All Answers

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Some info...
by Willy / August 5, 2012 6:18 AM PDT

Let's be clear, some flash drives just don't cotton to being messed with, so maybe a risky venture.

I suggest you look into using the HP USB formatting tool, which has done alot for any flash drive. Google for it and see if does what you like to do. If you haven't yet, what does PNY offer at its support website? Check out these websites: <----for possible clues. <----edit with EasyBCD <----check here too

tada -----Willy Happy

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This doesn't help me any further...
by Eagle_11 / August 9, 2012 4:33 AM PDT
In reply to: Some info...

I know flipping the rmb can be risky, I Googled it all day...

I saw the 'HP USB formatting tool'.
But I don't want to format my pendrive, I want to partition it.

PNY's support page:
"Can I partition my flash drive?"
No. PNY doesn't support partitioning of flash drives. NOPE Uhm did you notice this sentence:
"I tried this many times with Lexar BootIt, without succes."
If so did you notice this?

Did you notice that even that last site refers to Lexar BootIt?

Your post didn't help me, but thanks anyway,

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Since PNY wrote "No" can you try other drives?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 9, 2012 4:56 AM PDT

And I didn't see any mention of GPARTED.

However I have installed Ubuntu on too many USB Flash drives and they all seem to partition just fine.

And again, however, I'm very unsure what you are trying to do. Maybe you are trying to write protect or do a MacGyver.

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I'll explain what i want
by Eagle_11 / August 9, 2012 11:11 PM PDT

What i want to accomplish is to do a full installation of Ubuntu on my USB flash drive - This works fine - but i want to keep a partition for regular storage.

SO 2 partitions: 1 primairy for Ubuntu - bootable needs primairy, and 1 logical for storage.
BUT Windows will only show the primairy partition wich means that the storage partition becomes unaccesable in Windows.
However Windows will show all partitions if the device is - or Windows thinks that it is - a HDD.

So if i could flip the removable bit, windows will think it's a HDD and i can acces my storage partition while being able to boot Ubuntu.

I think i explained everything I can.


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Oh ya
by Eagle_11 / August 9, 2012 11:13 PM PDT

And about buying a new drive,
i'm only 13 years old and my parents won't like it if i buy another one.

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Oh, I said 14 it's 13 (makes things worse for BoB and others
by 1010011011 / May 29, 2016 5:28 PM PDT
In reply to: Oh ya

But a least I read and understood your question and got frustrated of the many wrong NON-ANSWERS. Nope don't know anything about computers, but seem to find myself in a world that seems to know alot.

I also don't understand why Windows can't create an UEFI boot flashdrive itself (yep true and mighty strange) and how to UEFI boot Kali-Linux.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 10, 2012 7:15 AM PDT

When you install Ubuntu, you can't use....

The entire drive for Linux. You'll have to select a custom install or use GPARTED to shrink one of the partitions then create another partition with the freed space then make it FAT32, format that then Windows will like it.

As I wrote, telling what you are trying to do may have folk offer ideas.

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ya but
by Eagle_11 / August 16, 2012 12:28 AM PDT
In reply to: AHA!

I know how to partition it but it still wouldn't be visible in windows - only the ubuntu partition will.
I guess nobody really knows how to do this.

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Sorry but I've done this long ago.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 16, 2012 12:39 AM PDT
In reply to: ya but

I'm not able to create this in the next few weeks but it appears you have forgotten something or are fixated on a particular solution.

Maybe in a few weeks I'll get back to where I can test this out again where I install it to an USB memory stick and have a partition in FAT32 so Windows can see that.

Why don't I do that? No need. You have a need so your best bet is to get a compatible stick to do what you want until others can try the setup you wanted (without flipping bits.)

Then again, the fact I can carry 2 sticks obliterates the need.

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Dude,you CAN do EXACTLY this and I hate it when other say NO
by SMEARME / January 5, 2013 7:48 AM PST
In reply to: Some info...

he designed the tool for primarily deleting locked files but it is superb at unlocking USB drives that Windows refuses to "Safely Eject", too often I used to either shutdown a running PC just to remove a drive or had to risk and yank a live running thumbdrive hopeing I didn't just ryuin it or my data.
The author's French, I suppose there are worse things you can say about a guy but his site has changed hosting providers and in case that link goes stale, search for Cedrick Collomb's Unlocker since spyware laced imitations have been released.

Reading the thread, it seems you want to dual / multipurpose a removable USB drive for LINUX and Windows, and yes it can be done absolutely and in the manner you want.

And you can always download an ext2file system driver for mounting UNIX/Linux drives for immediate results:

Or, if you still need to partition a removable drive, download the freely available cfadisk.sys driver made by Hitachi.

I don't think Hitachi still "supports" it, updates it or even hosts It but it is the effective solution and without tampering with removable hex identifying bits that seems to invoke warning and fear from so many naysayers who obviously haven't tried the method themselves.

You'll need GPARTed from to resize and split you USB drive and that will be include in your installed LINUX distro or obtained with package manager, in case you aren't installing Linux but just wanted to split the disk up for whatever reason and use with Windows, YES YOU CAN and search the web for "gparted LIVE boot CD" and various sites with the latest version will render the tool.

The Caveats:

Every windows system will recognize at least one of the drives partitions and reliably read the data but whether it detects the first, second or other partition seems to vary based on the version of windows and manufacturer of computer, thus it is important to copy the cfadisk.sys and modified cfadisk.inf to every partition on the drive ensuring the new computer can access the driver for installation and full access. The great news is you only have to modify the INF once since it carries the USB drives unique hardware type that is the same across all windows computers.

Other tools worth keeping on your new split or really every USB drive are:

Cedrick Collombs unlocker.exe, he designed the tool for primarily deleting locked files but it is superb at unlocking USB drives that Windows refuses to "Safely Eject", too often I used to either shutdown a running PC just to remove a drive or had to risk and yank a live running thumbdrive hoping I didn't just ruin it or my data.
The author's French, I suppose there are worse things you can say about a guy but his site has changed hosting providers and in case that link goes stale, search for Cedrick Collomb's Unlocker since spyware laced imitations have been released. Unlocker has an installer but after installation, findthe directory and copy the files since it executes just fine on any windowsPC without a formal install.

Get a copy of Sysinternals sync.exe just like UNIX sync, used to flush the disk cache to the disk and can aid in safe ejection.

When SYNC fails to safely eject, use Sysinternals Procexp.exe, another runtime exe (no install required, ever) and execute a search for the drive letter of the stubborn USB disk to learn which proccesses are locking the drive and also kill them just like taskmanager.

Also, try Sysinternals Handle utility which displays just open file handles for the purpose of unlocking and drive ejection.

Wanna be really militant about your USB drive, make it read only with JoeWare's writeprot.exe as long as its NTFS formatted, make it read only even if it doesn't have that little side read/write switch, use it even on NTFS hard drives of any size and installed inside the PC, whenever Joe isn't saving the lives and rescuing the free time of millions of sysadmins with his free utilities, he spends his time whispering advice into god's ear because Joe makes stuff that even deities use on their windows computers. writeprot read only status sticks with the disk wherever it goes so be aware that it remains protected across PC's but can be unlocked back to R/W on any other PC.

The advice you got from
"profit" was truly sincere but only half correct since splitting up that drive will send windows schizo, until you implement the hitachi cfadisk or equivalent feature, diskmgmt.msc will detect a removable drive with multiple partitions but refuse to assign a drive letter to every partition except one and that one will vary based on rules I still can't figure out. Microsoft seems to hate USB drives for all functions despite suitable speed and capacity. They'll support USB as system if if you'd like to spend a few thousand dollars for their embedded / compact OS studios and those are still usually one version behind, meaning they treat em last and at the moment we're still limited to using Windows 7 for embedded, point of sale, USB deployments. Even NT4 embedded was still being offered two years ago cause MS was trying to learn a concept the rest of the LINUX community had been using for a decade.

Windows 8 is being praised for USB installation support, but its like teen sex, everyone who is talking about isn't really doing it and I laugh at the BS I read from those who claim to know but clearly haven't done so based the bull they're posting.

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Thanks for the update.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 5, 2013 8:04 AM PST

My background is embedded computing with some using USB sticks so let's hope folk will try what you have written.

I won't dis you and expect the same from you.

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Does this program work?
by Kees_B Forum moderator / January 8, 2013 5:40 PM PST
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Did you read the whole question?
by conman253 / February 22, 2014 7:36 AM PST

He said he doesn't want to use that tool.

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Sometimes folk need to keep trying until
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 22, 2014 8:22 AM PST

They give up and use a tool they don't want to.

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Like a broken record...
by conman253 / February 22, 2014 4:15 PM PST

Like a broken record, you continue to use incomplete sentences and misinformation to discount others with aptitude. I wish you had the ability to answer this direct question directly. Please inform the forum again of your inadequacies and instead lather on more rhetoric.

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Then I suggest
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 22, 2014 11:59 PM PST

Here's my suggestion. Supply a solution. It's that simple. Anyone can jump in here and tell Kees is off base but if you can't supply a solution, you didn't add much, did you?

My advice is to give folk that "don't want to use that" time so they try out what they find and either fix it or realize the noted tool is worth trying.

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by conman253 / February 22, 2014 7:36 AM PST
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hp usb format tool
by justgold79 / September 11, 2015 8:55 PM PDT
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