HarborFront

Level 45
Content Creator
Verified
Hi

I need some help.

I just bought a 128GB USB stick. The purpose is to keep 3 copies of my system images (one image for MS SP3, one image for MS SP4 and one image for a future laptop) assuming each system image size is 30GB+ so a 128GB stick is sufficient for this purpose.

As my MS tablets uses only EFI/GPT it needs FAT32 for booting up. EFI doesn't recognize NTFS for boot up. I would like to make this USB stick bootable and have Macrium Reflect installed into it (primary FAT32 partition) as well.

I managed to split into 2 partitions using Minitools Partition Wizard : one formatted 4GB FAT32 for booting up and the other formatted using NTFS. However, there's no drive letter assigned to the second NTFS partition.

For USB removable stick Windows only recognizes the primary FAT32 partition with a drive letter and not detecting the second (or more) partition. This is a known issue.

Is there any 3rd-party partitioning tool which can perform the latter function i.e. allowing me to assign a drive letter to the second partition and be recognized by Windows?

There are some other tools known as Filter Drivers which treat the USB Removable Stick as USB Fixed Drives but look troublesome to use. See below link

How to Partition a USB Flash Drive - AgniPulse

Filter Drivers - Removable Media as Fixed Disk in Windows - AgniPulse

Another way I can do is to have a 4GB USB stick (or 8GB the smallest?) and make this bootable with Macrium Reflect installed. And have the 3 system images stored on the 128GB NTFS formatted USB stick

Thanks
 
Last edited:

HarborFront

Level 45
Content Creator
Verified
Ok some progress here

I used Lexar USB Format(below link) to flip the removable bit to create 2 partitions D: and E: and then use PartitionGuru to make active the D: partition. This was carried on a tablet with the latest Windows Creators Update installed.

Partition USB Flash Drives - gHacks Tech News

Now, Windows can see both my D: (formatted to FAT32 for bootup) and E: (formatted to NTFS) partitions. I can copy files to both partitions without problem.

PartitionGuru can see both my partitions as removable drives. However, AOEMI Partition Assistant and MiniTools Partition Wizard both cannot see my second partition as there's no indication of E:. MiniTools Partition Wizard allows me to change the drive letter for the second partition but it was unsuccessful despite the change.

Macrium Reflect also cannot see the second partition. So if system images are stored in the E: drive then Macrium Reflect will not be able to find them for restoration.

Also, when I moved the USB stick to the other tablet(WITHOUT the Windows Creators Update) Windows is only able to detect the whole USB stick as a single partition. So not sure whether the Windows Creators Update plays a part here.

Will carry out more testing and report back after I upgrade my other tablet to Windows Creators Update
 
Last edited:

HarborFront

Level 45
Content Creator
Verified
OK, just upgraded my other tablet to Windows Creators Update. Now both the tablets can see the 2 partitions of my 128GB USB flash stick using Lexar USB Format. Before the upgrade to Windows Creators Update both tablets can only see the first partition.

Unfortunately, AOEMI Partition Assistant, MiniTools Partition Wizard and Macrium Reflect can also only see the first partition.

So this method is unacceptable. I'll try other methods to see the result and post here later