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  • Reclaim disk space after imaging with imageUSB

    We have had a few users wondering how to get back the space on a USB drive after using MemTest86. The problem stems from the fact that the Windows Disk Management function doesn't allow for wiping or re-partitioning of USB flash drives.

    The first 512 bytes of a drive is typically the Master Boot Record (MBR). The MBR contains information on how the physical drive is partition and what file system is in use. This is how different Operating Systems identify and assign/mount the drives to be used. In Windows OS, if this information is erased from the USB Flash Drive (UFD), Windows should prompt you to format the drive when you insert the UFD into the system.

    If you have used imageUSB to write an image to the drive, they may be a chance you lost some disk space and normal formatting will not recover the lost space. For example, this can happen when an UFD contain multiple partitions like MemTest86 V5. Formatting will not span across multiple partitions/volume. To erase the partition records and reclaim the whole disk, you will need to zero the MBR. Starting with imageUSB 1.1.1014, there is a new option to "Zero UFD (Boot Sector Only)".

    WARNING: THIS PROCESS WILL TOTALLY DELETE THE DATA ON THE DRIVE

    Steps summarized:
    1. Insert UFD.
    2. Launch imageUSB and select the appropriate UFD. (Be careful and select the correct drive!).
    3. Choose the Zero UFD option & Run.
    4. Drive MBR is now Zeroed. You will need to reinsert the drive for Windows to recognize it and prompt for formatting before you can use it again. A normal format will now recover the full capacity of the USB drive.

    UPDATE - March 2015
    ImageUSB now includes an option to directly format the drive on machines running Vista and later. In most cases you can now just pick the Reformat option to get all the space back on the USB flash drive. This will also help with formatting other hard to format USB drives, even if they weren't used with MemTest86.

  • #2
    After following these steps, Windows 8.1 Pro no longer recognizes the UFD. In Disk Management I can see it as a hard drive in raw format with a primary partition, but can not format it to either file system, error says system cannot find the file specified. How can I get it back?

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    • #3
      We have had two similar reports of this. They reported problems if they just 'yanked the drive out'.

      The solutions were,
      A) Once zeroed, Eject the drive properly and then physical remove and re-insert it.
      OR
      B) Stick it into a different machine after yanking

      Comment


      • #4
        Once the UFD is zeroed, I can't properly eject the drive, only 'remove device' from the device list. Then on re-inserting it is still unreadable without a Win 7 machine, which was the only way I was able to format it. Perhaps a Windows 8 bug. Thanks for your help.
        Last edited by legend4life; 05-22-2014, 05:32 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by legend4life View Post
          Once the UFD is zeroed, I can't properly eject the drive, only 'remove device' from the device list. Then on re-inserting it is still unreadable without a Win 7 machine, which was the only way I was able to format it. Perhaps a Windows 8 bug. Thanks for your help.
          Hi

          The above has happened to me and I yanked the USB out of my laptop. Consequently on re-inserting the USB my laptop cant see the USB and I have tried another computer with the same result. Can some one please tell me what I need to do, if there is anything I can to, to get my laptop to recognise my USB, or is it to late?

          My PC knowledge is limited but my understanding is I have wiped the boot files on the USB and hence thats why my laptop doesnt see it.

          How do I restore it? Can I restore it?

          Any help is appreciated.

          Thank you.

          Comment


          • #6
            What version of Windows are you using?

            I suspect what is happening is that when you yank the drive, Windows 8 doesn't realize the drive is gone and then when you plug it back in, it doesn't realize it has been re-inserted and so doesn't prompt for a reformat. So some other things to try,

            1) Try a different USB port on the machine instead of sticking it back into the same port.
            2) Try to power down the machine, then reboot it, without the USB stick connected. After booting plug the stick back in. That should reset the list of devices connected
            3) Have a look in the Windows disk management to see of the drive appears there. Also do the same on a 2nd machine, if you have one.

            There is of course a slim chance the drive is actually bad, but it is unlikely.

            Comment


            • #7
              I did some quick testing on a Windows 7 and a Windows 8 machine. On Windows 7, after Zeroing the USB drive was visible in "Computer"->"Devices with Removable Storage(5)" will show up regardless if I eject or yank the drive out.

              In Windows 8. The drive after zeroing does not show up in the list of drives in "Computer". It does show up in Disk Management, however, sometimes even in disk management it will not allow me to format the drive reporting an error, "Cannot find the file specified". If you run into this case, what I found to work was to use diskpart. I have enclosed the instructions below to reclaim the drive if you run into this problem.

              WARNING: DISKPART CAN BE DANGEROUS MAKE SURE YOU SELECT THE CORRECT DISK. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!

              1. Start a Command Prompt with Admin Permissions. (Start, Type "cmd", right click on command prompt in the list of programs, and select "Run as Administrator")
              2. Enter the command "diskpart"
              3. Enter the command "list disk", locate the disk number for your USB Drive
              4. Enter the command "select disk X", where X is the number of your disk from step 3.
              5. Enter the command "clean", this will remove any and all partition or volume formatting from the disk with focus.
              6. Done, type "exit" to quit diskpart.
              7. Now in back in Disk Management, you should be able to right click the drive and choose new simple volume and proceed with formatting.

              We will investigate the issue further imageUSB and Windows 8 and see if we cannot provide a better solution.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi - I'm using Windows 7 Home Edition. The drive does appear in Windows Disk Management but beneath the row that shows all the other functioning drives.

                I'll give all the suggestions I try - thanks to both for replies.

                All the best.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Suggestions worked - thank you!

                  Originally posted by machine View Post
                  Hi - I'm using Windows 7 Home Edition. The drive does appear in Windows Disk Management but beneath the row that shows all the other functioning drives.

                  I'll give all the suggestions I try - thanks to both for replies.

                  All the best.
                  Quick update for those who might encounter the same problem.

                  I switched the USB to another USB port then went to Windows Disk Management and reformatted the USB from there - big thanks to David for the suggestion as the USB stick nearly ended up in the bin.

                  Thanks!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    A new build of imageUSB (V1.1.1015) has been released to fix an issue when trying to zero usb drives with GPT partition type. The Zero UFD option will now check if the drive is of GPT type, and if so, it will also zero out the Primary GPT and the Secondary GPT (in addition to the MBR). This should fix the issue seen by some users of Windows 8 that were unable to format the drive after zeroing it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Additional actions may be required.

                      Originally posted by Richard (PassMark) View Post
                      I did some quick testing on a Windows 7 and a Windows 8 machine. On Windows 7, after Zeroing the USB drive was visible in "Computer"->"Devices with Removable Storage(5)" will show up regardless if I eject or yank the drive out.

                      In Windows 8. The drive after zeroing does not show up in the list of drives in "Computer". It does show up in Disk Management, however, sometimes even in disk management it will not allow me to format the drive reporting an error, "Cannot find the file specified". If you run into this case, what I found to work was to use diskpart. I have enclosed the instructions below to reclaim the drive if you run into this problem.

                      WARNING: DISKPART CAN BE DANGEROUS MAKE SURE YOU SELECT THE CORRECT DISK. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!

                      1. Start a Command Prompt with Admin Permissions. (Start, Type "cmd", right click on command prompt in the list of programs, and select "Run as Administrator")
                      2. Enter the command "diskpart"
                      3. Enter the command "list disk", locate the disk number for your USB Drive
                      4. Enter the command "select disk X", where X is the number of your disk from step 3.
                      5. Enter the command "clean", this will remove any and all partition or volume formatting from the disk with focus.
                      6. Done, type "exit" to quit diskpart.
                      7. Now in back in Disk Management, you should be able to right click the drive and choose new simple volume and proceed with formatting.

                      We will investigate the issue further imageUSB and Windows 8 and see if we cannot provide a better solution.
                      Thanks for the help! I did have to do a little more to get my flash drive back, though.
                      After step 5, I required two more steps in DiskPart.

                      6. Enter command "create partition primary", to renew my disk space
                      7. Enter command "active", for disk management to recognize it

                      I exited, then formatted, and everything else worked well!

                      Thanks again!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        In case you missed it, that 7 step process isn't really required.
                        There was an update to imageUSB to allow a drive to be zeroed, after which you can format it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by David (PassMark) View Post
                          In case you missed it, that 7 step process isn't really required.
                          There was an update to imageUSB to allow a drive to be zeroed, after which you can format it.
                          Once I had used the old version to zero it, then I couldn't see disk in the updated version of imageUSB anymore. So, the 7 step process was very helpful for more! Thank you kaosity!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by kaosity View Post
                            Thanks for the help! I did have to do a little more to get my flash drive back, though.
                            After step 5, I required two more steps in DiskPart.

                            6. Enter command "create partition primary", to renew my disk space
                            7. Enter command "active", for disk management to recognize it

                            I exited, then formatted, and everything else worked well!

                            Thanks again!
                            Thank you so much. That was the missing piece to my puzzle.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Richard (PassMark) View Post
                              I did some quick testing on a Windows 7 and a Windows 8 machine. On Windows 7, after Zeroing the USB drive was visible in "Computer"->"Devices with Removable Storage(5)" will show up regardless if I eject or yank the drive out.

                              In Windows 8. The drive after zeroing does not show up in the list of drives in "Computer". It does show up in Disk Management, however, sometimes even in disk management it will not allow me to format the drive reporting an error, "Cannot find the file specified". If you run into this case, what I found to work was to use diskpart. I have enclosed the instructions below to reclaim the drive if you run into this problem.

                              WARNING: DISKPART CAN BE DANGEROUS MAKE SURE YOU SELECT THE CORRECT DISK. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!

                              1. Start a Command Prompt with Admin Permissions. (Start, Type "cmd", right click on command prompt in the list of programs, and select "Run as Administrator")
                              2. Enter the command "diskpart"
                              3. Enter the command "list disk", locate the disk number for your USB Drive
                              4. Enter the command "select disk X", where X is the number of your disk from step 3.
                              5. Enter the command "clean", this will remove any and all partition or volume formatting from the disk with focus.
                              6. Done, type "exit" to quit diskpart.
                              7. Now in back in Disk Management, you should be able to right click the drive and choose new simple volume and proceed with formatting.

                              We will investigate the issue further imageUSB and Windows 8 and see if we cannot provide a better solution.
                              Originally posted by kaosity View Post
                              Thanks for the help! I did have to do a little more to get my flash drive back, though.
                              After step 5, I required two more steps in DiskPart.

                              6. Enter command "create partition primary", to renew my disk space
                              7. Enter command "active", for disk management to recognize it

                              I exited, then formatted, and everything else worked well!

                              Thanks again!
                              These two were the key. Win 8.1.

                              Comment

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