How do I create bootable usb drive but keep the files in it?

May 19, 2017 at 15:38:31
Specs: Windows 10, 8 GB 4 CPU cores
I got a USB flash drive and I want to make Ubuntu Linux 17.04 boot on it. However, I have important files for my windows pc on it that I don't want to lose. How would I still have access to those files but have a bootable OS on it? What I mean is partitioning the drive. How would I do this?

See More: How do I create bootable usb drive but keep the files in it?

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May 19, 2017 at 16:25:49
Far easier and safer to buy another, a separate, flash drive/usb memory stick.

Also do NOT rely on flash drives etc. for serious, long term, secure storage.They can, and do, fail at any time. Ensure anything valuable is also on dvd (at least) and if possible on an external hard drive too. Even better is two sets of dvd and the external hard drive.

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May 19, 2017 at 16:29:05
That isn't my question. I don't care if it isn't safe. I just want to know how

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May 19, 2017 at 17:35:10
Copy the files to you PC or other media first.
Then install your boot-able UBUNTU ISO on it.
After that you can copy the files back to the USB drive.

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Related Solutions

May 19, 2017 at 19:00:44
"I don't care if it isn't safe"

If you're storing important files on a USB flash drive, you obviously don't care about file safety. I suggest you backup those important files to more reliable media before playing around with a bootable Ubuntu stick.

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May 19, 2017 at 19:42:01
This post just reeks of stupidity.

You can buy flash drives for less than $10 these days. Why on earth would you risk loosing data when a new drive is so cheap?

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May 20, 2017 at 01:28:39

Just buy a another pen drive and use that to make a bootable Ubuntu with.

If you repartition/reformat your existing pen drive, well it's obvious that will nuke any files that are on it.

message edited by phil22

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May 20, 2017 at 03:13:17
Unusual name - TECH Guy!

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May 20, 2017 at 05:56:08
Purchase a new inexpensive flash drive.
Make sure that any Important files are on at least two drives, preferably a computer and an external drive or computer and DVD/CD or all three. I carry around a flash drive but there is a file folder on my computer that is labeled "Flash Drive Back up" with a full copy of what is on the drive and the drive is mainly a copy of other files I find useful and a portable set of apps. The reason I have that folder is when I had one drive that quit, I had to remember all of the files I found useful and gather them all over again. I also keep the portable app installer in that folder as well so I can recreate the drive without wasting time.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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May 20, 2017 at 09:14:56
sluc #3 answered your question... The rest of us were advocating a better path to follow; especially with regard to the unreliability etc. of flash drives/usb-sticks...

Even if you follow sluc's advice consider carefully the implications of having critical information on an unreliable storage system; even more so if that data isn't also safe elsewhere...

edited per trvlr to correct a number typo.

message edited by trvlr

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May 20, 2017 at 12:09:25
"Unusual name - TECH Guy!"

I named this after my youtube channel called "Elliot the Tech Guy". If you want you can look it up. This post is not spam because Mike Newcomb talked about my username.

I don't care if it isn't safe. Because of everyone, I decided I won't do it. HOWEVER, I just want to know how. All the posts above ARE NOT answering my question. To clarify, I want to know how to split the drive so half is bootable and is for the Linux Ubuntu OS and unreadable and invisible for Windows, and half for Windows and is only readable to Windows, not Linux.

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May 20, 2017 at 13:55:39
Possibly this may help point the way?

And this one appears to mention aspects which are similar to your requirements?

Have to admit, for me your curiosity or whatever has piqued my interest. Who knows, knowing how to do it (if it's possible) may be useful anon...?

message edited by trvlr

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May 20, 2017 at 14:07:07
"I want to know how to split the drive so half is bootable and is for the Linux Ubuntu OS and unreadable and invisible for Windows, and half for Windows and is only readable to Windows, not Linux"

That's not what you originally asked. You said you have "important files" on the jump drive that you don't want to lose. The point everyone is trying to make is, if the files are important, a jump drive is NOT a safe place for them. Hopefully your "important files" are backed up in other places (HDD, CD/DVD, etc). Your original question WAS answered...see response #3. If you need an explanation on how to create a bootable jumpdrive, there are numerous tutorials available.

Anyhow, part of your new question is easily answered - Windows can't read Linux formatting so you won't have to worry about Windows seeing anything on the Linux side. However, Linux CAN read Windows formatting. That's why Linux is often used to retrieve files from borked Windows installations.

Are you an experienced Linux user? I've been experimenting with it for about 10 years. I've tried dozens of distros but was never particularly fond of Ubuntu. I'm currently running different versions of Linux Mint 18.1 - Xfce 32-bit on an old laptop, Cinnamon 32-bit on a older desktop, & Cinnamon 64-bit on a newer desktop. Mint is based on Ubuntu but IMO, it's better designed & easier to work with.

message edited by riider

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May 20, 2017 at 16:55:09
Ok. I guess I am not very clear. Here is an easier wording. I want to basically make the usb drive recognized as two drives in every way, meaning when I insert the usb flash drive, my computer sees two usb flash drives inserted.

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May 20, 2017 at 17:12:20
I think in one of the links I posted in my #11 there are instructions re' creating multiple partitions on a flash drive. I have had a few early flash drives which came with two partitions already configured. When the flash drive was recognised (at that time I was running XP, now mostly Mac OS) both partitions appeared in explorer and I think also on the desktop.

Perhaps double check the links I posted in my #11 and try creating two or more partitions; and then see if they both show up at the same time?

Again - at risk of pedantry or whatever - safeguard the files on your existing flash drive first... Or use another flash drive for your experiment (which is what I would do).

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May 20, 2017 at 17:21:21
The post you gave erased the existing information on the drive. All I want to do is split the drive, which is not dangerous at all.

Post 1: "You'll be warned that all data will be deleted on the drive"
Post 2: "On a 'removable' drive (like most USB Flash drives), Windows will only recognise the first raw or Windows-formatted primary partition in the partition table."

Also, post 1 also doesn't allow windows to recognize all partitions either. Not what I want, although I know you're trying and I appreciate that. I want half of the drive as F for example and another part as G. This doesn't involve Windows, it involves the drive being pretty much two drives no matter the OS

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May 20, 2017 at 17:21:57
FYI by post, I mean the links you gave

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May 21, 2017 at 03:05:53
Apart from using apps such as Easus or Powerquest partition managers, or later more current versions of Windows (7 and upwards?) disk manager, there is no way to shrink an existing partition and create a second one in the now free space - and not risk losing data in the first partition.

Even with the apps above there was (is) always the risk of it going pear shaped and data loss as a result.

As I said earlier, I have somewhere a 2Gig usb stick which came preformatted with two partitions. Both were recognised by Windows XP and appeared in explorer etc. and each was assigned its own drive letter.

I will see if I can find one of them and check how they perform in Win-7.

To read Linux partitions one needs an add-in app. Not on my Mac proper just now (iPads have their limitations when switching between pages in a browser) but will go see what I have used in the past re Linux and Windows recognition. Macs require a similar add-in app to read and access Linux partitions, and I have that. Memory is that Paragon (ntfs reader) make the app for both systems.

Regardless of how it may be achieved - having two separate partitions - I would still ensure the current partition data is copied safely elsewhere, before setting about achieving the object of the exercise. That much is basic common sense?

Incidentally my Mac systems see both partitions on the 2Gig drive no problem, and present them both on the Mac desktop when the "drive" is present.

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May 21, 2017 at 05:54:48
Browsing a little - over a cup of char... I found this:

It does explain the how/why windows works with usb flash drives; and suggests a way to overcome it?

And this link may be of interest as it offers three utilities to the same end...

message edited by trvlr

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May 21, 2017 at 12:05:29
Why are you making this so difficult? And why didn't you just do a search rather than getting everyone riled up with your poorly worded questions?

Have a look at this: How do I partition a USB drive so that it's bootable and has a Windows-compatible data storage partition?

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May 21, 2017 at 12:29:10
Thank you SO much for #17 post! I actually wanted the bootable linux so it could run on my Mac! I'll just split the drive and then boot from the certain partition. I am also assuming I could do this with Windows 10 on Mac using advanced boot using MacOSX and select that partition.

But I actually think It may be fairly easy to get a new drive :(

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May 21, 2017 at 13:19:32
I certainly would experiment with a different drive to start with; one that has no data on it for obvious reason as already stated...

I did a google trawl to find my last links; and the amount of stuff out there about this usb issue and how to circumvent it legion, as are various apps to help.

The big issue with usb flash drives is that they are not seen as fixed drives (unlike proper external usb connected hard drives. They are seen as strictly "removable"- rather than fixed. So there hath been developed the workarounds...

For me this one has been quite educational and useful to know about.

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