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Recreate Partition of Flash Drive

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June 24, 2006 11:28:16 PM

I've been messing around with Mac emulation on my PC and decided to reformat my Flash drive as a Mac formatted disk. Now, even when I format it to MS-DOS on the mac its unreadable on my PC (running XP Pro). How can I reformat the drive in Windows so its usable again?

Thanks
-mcg
June 25, 2006 5:28:15 PM

Anyone? C'mon guys you know how often I actually ASK questions around here?!! I don't want to have to buy a new flash drive.

-mcg
June 27, 2006 6:36:31 PM

Thanks for all the help guys. I tried it at work and the computer here recognized the flash drive as a RAW formatted disc and let me format it. Since it is also running XP Pro I don't understant why it would work here and not at home. Hmm... maybe it has special capabilities since its a government computer. j/k

-mcg
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June 27, 2006 6:55:51 PM

It could be the USB subsystem. Not all USB shipset and drivers behave the same, and USB implementation is still buggy in Windows, in SP2 also.
In case of trouble with USB flash devices I always resolved with my Gentoo Linux machine: a well configured linux box with 2.6 kernel is able to reformat and recover any USB flash drive (if it still powers up!)
June 27, 2006 7:57:06 PM

Give this a go:
Download and burn a Linux livecd of your choice (so long as it has USB support, most do)

Boot it

When it's up open a terminal

Plug in the USB drive

Enter [code:1:3bf44e4e95]dmesg[enter][/code:1:3bf44e4e95]
Look for the line about a USB device, likely will be named something like /dev/sdX where X is a,b,c,... make a note of the name

Enter the following command:[code:1:3bf44e4e95]//assuming it's sda
//first, we verify the structure of what's in the partition table
fdisk -l /dev/sda[enter]
//make sure this looks reasonable, i.e. says something about HFS+
//If you feel comfortable with fdisk or can follow basic instructions,
//use fdisk
fdisk /dev/sda[enter]
//to delete [d] the partition (get the
//partition # w/ [p]), and either leave it blank and let
//Windows reformat it or do it here. read the man page or other sites.
//Even if you just delete the partition, make sure to end with [w]
//In review, to delete,
fdisk /dev/sda[enter]
p[enter]//take not of the partition #'s
d[enter]
1[enter]
//(if other partitions exist, repeat with [d] [2] [d] [3] etc.)
//if you get stuck at any point, you can exit with a [Ctrl+c]
//If you'd rather not use fdisk, this will also prep it for Windows to reformat

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda[enter]
//This will take some time.[/code:1:3bf44e4e95]

if you didn't format it in Linux, search how to format in Windows (Control Panel->Admin Tools->Computer Mgt->Disk Mgt)

Hope this helps.
June 27, 2006 8:02:52 PM

Did you try looking at it from the computer management console? Sometimes (always?) when windows sees a disk with an unknown partition, it won't assign it a drive letter. You are, however, able to see it in the disk management part of the computer management console. You are also able to reformat and assign a drive letter as well.

If it isn't seen in the computer management, it is probably a hardware issue. Possibly something in the usb subsystem, as has been mentioned.
June 29, 2006 8:57:29 PM

Cool, thanks for the advice. I'll keep it in mind in case this ever happens again.
June 30, 2006 4:35:11 AM

Another thing that could work is booting from the XP CD with the USB drive connected. When the option to format drives comes up it will list the USB drive. Format the drive and everything should work fine.
!