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USB Flash Drive as an external HDD

  • Flash Media
  • External Hard Drive
  • Flash Drive
  • USB Flash
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
January 2, 2009 7:19:05 PM

Ive been trying to make my 4Gb flash drive appear as an external HDD on windows machines. The idea was to make it easier to partition and easier to boot off of. I've been searching the web for a while but haven't found much that actually worked. One thing said it would flip a bit that would do this, but it simply stopped my computer from seeing the drive. So is there a free way to do this to a flash drive? I won't pay for software that would do this when I could just buy an small(2.5" or less) external HDD from newegg for under $50.

More about : usb flash drive external hdd

January 2, 2009 7:31:40 PM

It should be seen as a Removeable Storage Device in Windows. They aren't ment to be partitioned.
January 2, 2009 7:58:07 PM

Yes that's how it is recognized now, but I'm trying to make it be recognized as a regular hard drive. I'm thinking this would be impossible without being able to write a custom driver or something. That's obviously not worth trying.
unless of course someone already figured this out and it's easier than i think. i guess i can always just partition it in Linux and stick to distros already setup to boot off of a flash drive.
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January 2, 2009 8:00:53 PM

can you even partition flash memory?
January 3, 2009 2:30:30 PM

I'm pretty sure it's possible since my flash drive came partitioned. (U3 drive so it had a small "CD" partition on it.) I'm gonna mess around with it in linux today to see if I can pull anything off... Right now none of my windows machines are even recognizing the drive. It's possible I killed it by reformatting it too many times or something. Oh well, not like a 4Gb drive is worth much today.
January 4, 2009 4:30:57 AM

My sandisk 8 gig isnt under removable storage.... you can try turning the removable storage interface off and force it to be reconized as drive....

On a note i converted my sandisk to a NTFS so i could move big files (same with my external)... My partition for recovery is fat32 still but its also part of the main which is ntfs so it could be something to do with that?

you could see if that has any effect
run command
convert driveletter: /fs:ntfs
January 4, 2009 5:30:02 PM

Oh well, all the messing I've done seems to have fried the flash drive. I think the best solution would be to get a 1.8" or 2.5" external HDD used somewhere. That way it would still be cheap and shouldn't die so quickly from formatting or running an OS from it. Flash drives should probably just be left to transferring photos and documents.
January 5, 2009 12:42:07 PM

I Sea,

Sorry to hear you toasted your USB Key. However you can do what you want. The complete procedure is listed in the review section of this site;,1113...

However, here is a brief listing of the steps.

First you format it as NTFS.
Then you use the HP USB Key utility to set the boot record.

Then you build a utility boot image on a disk via Barts PE.

Then you copy it to the usb drive using PE2USB.

You should now have a bootable "diagnostic" image on your USB key.
I successfully completed this procedure as a test for a larger project.