Restore Your USB Key to it's original state

After having tooled around with a USB Linux version using your image overwritten or multi partitioned flash pen drive, you might find it necessary to revert it back to a single fat partition (restore the flash pen drive to it's original state) that can again be read by all computers. Windows users can follow the Windows instructions below to Restore a Flash Drive using the HP USB Format Tool. For those working from Linux this task can easily be accomplished via the Linux Flash Drive Restoration tutorial that follows.

Restoring your USB key to it's original state using Windows/Mac OS:

Windows and or Mac OS users could use the SD Formatter Tool to reformat and restore a USB Drive.

SD Formatter

Or alternately, Windows users could use BOOTICE

  1. Download, extract, and run Pauly's BOOTICE Tool
  2. (1) Select your USB Flash Drive from the list, (2) Click Parts Manage BOOTICE
  3. (1) Click Repartitioning  BOOTICE Repartition
  4. (1) Under Disk Mode, Choose USB-FDD, USB-HDD, or USB-ZIP mode I use USB-HDD as it works with every BIOS I use. (2) Click OK USB Repartitioning

Restoring your USB key to it's original state using Linux:

A. First we need to delete the old partitions that remain on the USB key.

  1. Open a terminal and type sudo su
  2. Type fdisk -l and note your USB drive letter.
  3. Type fdisk /dev/sdx (replacing x with your drive letter)
  4. Type d to proceed to delete a partition
  5. Type 1 to select the 1st partition and press enter
  6. Type d to proceed to delete another partition (fdisk should automatically select the second partition)

B. Next we need to create the new partition.

  1. Type n to make a new partition
  2. Type p to make this partition primary and press enter
  3. Type 1 to make this the first partition and then press enter
  4. Press enter to accept the default first cylinder
  5. Press enter again to accept the default last cylinder
  6. Type w to write the new partition information to the USB key
  7. Type umount /dev/sdx1 (replacing x with your drive letter)

C. The last step is to create the fat filesystem.

  1. Type mkfs.vfat -F 32 /dev/sdx1 (replacing x with your USB key drive letter)

That's it, you should now have a restored USB key with a single fat 32 partition that can be read from any computer.

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