Booting from USB drives

Tony Su tonysu at
Wed May 15 08:29:23 PDT 2013

Sorry, mispoke.
The MS standalone partition utility is diskpart.exe

But, I've never seen that the partition utility used makes any diff,
although I have seen where what you use to format can.

I haven't tried booting a partitioned USB device but from what I know of
how Windows bootloaders work I find it very hard to believe that it's not
possible to support partitioned USB devices. You'd have to open the
bootloader with something like EasyBCD to inspect how the paths and devices
are described to see what the problem is, maybe even manually edit to

On May 15, 2013 5:29 AM, "Franklin Johnston" <fpjohnston at> wrote:

> On Tue, May 14, 2013 at 3:39 PM, Tony Su <tonysu at> wrote:
> > I can't add anything to Gus' post which looks detailed and covers all the
> > bases I can think of.
> >
> I agree, but I already figured out that I was doing the right things to
> partition and format the drive, and install and boot Linux. I'm still left
> puzzled as to why this works for my 32 GB drive, but not my 16 GB drive.
> > Re: your original post about Windows "can't partition" and "can only see
> > one partition" - both would be false.
> >
> > Windows not only has its own internal disk utilities which can partition,
> > there is a MS parted utility.
> >
> > The Windows boot partition (MS reverses the boot and system partition
> > names) as defined by everyone but MS can be any marked partition
> supported
> > by your BIOS and can point to any disk or partition containing your OS
> > files. The method used to describe the partitions are different than
> Linux
> > though so maybe that is why someone didn't know how to describe any but
> the
> > first partition on the first disk which of course is always default.
> >
> The MS Disk Management utility did not want to allow more than one
> partition on a USB drive. I will concede that GNU utilities such as
> *parted*might remedy this deficiency. But that's not the biggest
> problem.
> Windows 7 only saw one of two partitions on a drive that I had formatted
> with *gparted* on Ubuntu. This corresponded to information I found on
> multiple sites, which stated that Windows only allows one partition for a
> removable device. Some of them suggested using a utility to flip the
> Removable Media Bit on the device to make it appear to Windows to be a
> fixed drive. I haven't yet seen anything that describes how else to get
> Windows to mount more than one partition and assume it a drive letter.
> What was worse, Windows got confused. The first and larger partition was
> formatted as NTFS, and the second as FAT32. Windows saw only the larger
> partition, but said it was formatted as FAT32.
> Regardless, this is a digression from the real question, which is, why
> would a given USB drive not be bootable? Regardless what Windows is or is
> not capable of, I am able to demonstrate with Linux that I can install and
> make bootable at least some drives.
> --
> KPLUG-List at

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