How to Partition a USB Flash Drive

A partition is a part of a disk drive that is separate from the rest of the drive. Typically, Windows will not allow you to partition a USB flash drive because flash drives are removable media. Thus, you must convince Windows that your flash drive is a fixed drive, not unlike your hard drive. Partitioning a USB flash drive on Mac OS X is much easier and more straightforward and doesn't require anything but your USB flash drive.

...
Partitioning a flash drive can help you organize your files.

Step

Windows XP/Mac OS X:

Step

Make sure no valuable files are present on your USB flash drive. Once the drive has been partitioned, any and all files will be deleted.

Step

Windows XP:

Step

Download and install Lexar's BootIt, a free utility, or equivalent software to convince Windows that your flash drive is fixed media.

Step

Mac OS X:

Step

Insert a USB flash drive into the USB port. Open "Applications," "Disk Utility," then select the your flash drive.

Step

Windows XP:

Step

Insert your flash drive into the USB port. Open BootIt.

Step

Mac OS X:

Step

Under "Volume Scheme," click "2 Partitions" (or however many partitions you want to create). Select "Untitled 1" then enter a new name under "Volume Information." Next to "Format," make sure "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" is selected. Input the size you want the partition to be; otherwise the default will be half of your overall space. Next, select "Untitled 2" and repeat the above process.

Step

Windows XP:

Step

Find and select your flash drive on BootIt's device screen. Click "Flip Removable Bit."

Step

Mac OS X:

Step

Click "Options" under what was previously entitled "Untitled 2." Select "GUID Partition Table" then click "OK."

Step

Windows XP:

Step

Eject, then reinsert, your flash drive.

Step

Mac OS X:

Step

Click "Apply." A warning will drop down explaining that your USB flash drive will be erased and replaced with your newly-named partitions 1 and 2. If no important information is present on the drive, click "OK."

Step

Windows XP:

Step

Go to the Windows "Start Menu," then the "Control Panel," then the "Performance and Maintenance" folder, and then the "Administrative Tools." Finally, double click "Computer Management," followed by "Disk Management." Locate your flash drive on the drive list. Right-click on your drive and select "Delete Partition." Then right-click on your drive again and select "New Partition." Follow the Disk Management instructions to create a "Primary Partition."

Step

Mac OS X:

Step

"Disk Utility" will then separate your USB flash drive into two partitions.