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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.

  • Mdj19
    replied
    2018Jan14. I insert my UFB (actually, a micoSD card in a USB adapter), but imageUSB doesn't see it. Now what?
    2018Jan16. After reviewing other comments, I found a computer with a U3 port (a buddy's laptop). I inserted the USB adapter with my 32GB microSD into his U3 port (blue) and imageUSB saw it; yay! Therefore I was able to use Zero UFD, then Win10 Disk Management saw it, and I was able to format it. I inserted it into my own computer, and it is working again; whew!
    Last edited by Mdj19; 01-16-2018, 07:54 PM. Reason: Experimenting while waiting for a response...

    Leave a comment:


  • Fyrefli
    replied
    David,

    Thank you for the reply. You are correct, it is a U3 drive. The Zero UFD option did work on the non CD partition, so it would seem it worked properly. Thank you for the helpful info!

    Leave a comment:


  • David (PassMark)
    replied
    Fyrefli,

    Your drive must be one of the special "U3" flash drives. Details are here,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U3

    -=-=-=
    A U3 flash drive presents itself to the host system as a USB hub with a CD drive and standard USB mass storage device attached.

    • This configuration causes Windows disk management to show two drives:
      • A read-only ISO 9660 volume on an emulated CD-ROM drive with an autorun configuration to execute the U3 LaunchPad, and;
      • A standard flash drive (FAT formatted) that includes a hidden "SYSTEM" folder with installed applications.

    -=-=-=

    While I haven't experimented with these type of flash drives myself, it could well be the case that the emulated CD-ROM part is read-only and can never be overwritten, wiped or reformatted.

    Leave a comment:


  • Fyrefli
    replied
    Imaging Failed Message and CD drive remaining on my USB

    When I used the Zero UFD option, the program displays two drives for the same USB stick. One registers as USB,CDFS and the other as USB,Unkown. I checked the box for both drives, but once I run the Zero UFD, it says Imaging Failed and the usb shows two partitions still, one as a CD drive. Shouldn't the zero UFD function have cleared this?

    Leave a comment:


  • xax8
    replied
    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.
    in case your USB drive were not listed in DISKPART when you type list disk, use:
    "list volume",
    select your volume,
    "select volume x"
    continue with step 5

    Leave a comment:


  • chusrubi2
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jalex
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • m66k
    replied
    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!

    Leave a comment:


  • David (PassMark)
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • kaosity
    replied
    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!

    Leave a comment:


  • Richard (PassMark)
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • machine
    replied
    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!!

    Leave a comment:


  • machine
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Richard (PassMark)
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:

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