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Destroying CD drive partition on USB stick


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I've got some promotional USB sticks from an exhibition. They have been partitioned with a read-only drive which comes up as a CD-ROM drive when you insert the USB stick. I have tried wiping these sticks with Flash Memory Toolkit, [email protected] Killdisk and of course all the format commands in Win2K through to Win7 Ultimate with no luck so far. Can anyone offer any advice as to how one can permanently and forever destroy all partitions and data on these USB sticks and still have them useable afterwards (after reformatting obviously)?

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The most important thing when using the Disk tool is to make sure you can identify the disk you want to manage in the list. Usually you can do it by the total size of the disk displayed. If in doubt, better unplug all external drives except for the one you actually want to work with, to make sure you are not accidentally erasing data on a wrong disk!


 


Use - Disk Management tool, click on the Start button, right-click on Computer, and choose Manage from the menu.


 


After you have clicked on Manage, wait a few seconds for the Computer Management console to open.


 


Select Disk Management in its navigation page and wait a few more seconds.


 


Finally, the list of the disks that are attached to your computer will be displayed in its main window pane.


 


If you right-click on the normal NTFS partition, you should see the normal menu that lets you perform various tasks on that partition, including the Delete Volume command.


 


If the partition is protected in such a way that even the Disk Management tool cannot do anything to it.


 


Another tool, DISKPART that can do things to the disks that Disk Management cannot. The tricky part is, that DISKPART is a command-line tool, which requires us to type commands into its command prompt to make it do what we want.


 


To get access to the DISKPART tool, first open the Windows command prompt in the "administrator" mode.


 


Click on the Start button and in the Search programs and files box, type the following cmd


 


Make sure that cmd is highlighted on the menu. Press the Ctrl and Shift keys together, and while keeping them depressed, press Enter.


 


(The Ctrl+Shift combination makes the command prompt to open in the "administrator" mode.)


 


An elevated Command Prompt window will appear.


 


C:\ windows\system32>


At prompt you can type: diskpart and press Enter.


C:\ windows\system32> diskpart


 


This should display the diskpart command prompt.


 


diskpart >


At prompt you can type: list disk and press Enter.


diskpart > list disk


 


This should display an output similar to the below example.


 


  Disk ###  Status         Size           Free     Dyn  Gpt


  --------  -------------  -------  -------  ---  ---


  Disk 0    Online          119 GB      0 B


  Disk 1    Online          119 GB   119 GB


  Disk 2    Online         2047 GB      0 B


  Disk 3    Online          7 GB         5 GB = example USB key drive


  Disk 4    No Media           0 B      0 B


 


Again, it is very important to properly identify the disk we want to work with in the list.


 


diskpart >


At prompt you can type: select disk 3 and press Enter.


diskpart > select disk 3


NOTE: You would substitute 3 for the disk number listed that you want clean.


 


diskpart > prompt you can type: clean and press Enter.


diskpart > clean


Note that this command erases everything on the selected disk, all partitions, protected or not.


 


Exit the DISKPART command prompt (by typing exit into its command line), and go back to the Disk Management tool (see above how to open it.) When it starts, it automatically detects the presence of the clean disk and prompts us to initialize it.


 


Note: If you have trouble open or running, the Windows command prompt in the "administrator" mode.


Try manually by clicking Start -> All Programs -> Accessories.


Locate the Command Prompt shortcut and right-click on it.


This will bring up Command Prompt's right-click menu.


Click on Run as administrator.


Click yes on the User Account Control window that appears.


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Thanks for those instructions. Under Disk Management, the option to Delete Partition is greyed out for selecting under the drive I want to destroy with the USB inserted. When I use Diskpart instead, the only drives listed under List Disk are the physical HDDs connected to IDE ports. It does not list any virtual drives, nor USB drives.


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Are you using an elevated Command Prompt e.g.


 


An elevated Command Prompt window opens to C:\Windows\system32.


 


A non-elevated Command Prompt window instead opens to C:\Users\[username].


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I've discovered it's actually a hardware issue not solvable by software. It sounds most probable that the USB stick is possibly formatted using something called a U3 system partition which was something to do with Sandisk and MS at some point in the late 90s. Anyway it's not used anymore and the only way of clearing the sticks formatted in this way was to hack the firmware of the chip in the USB stick. Much easier said than done. There was software around at the time to do it, but as the U3 format is now obsolete and no longer supported, that software is no where to be found and isn't even in English language anyway even it could be. It was Russian developed.


 


I've given up, will just throw the USB sticks away and buy new ones instead. Definitely quicker and probably cheaper in the long run too.


 


Thanks


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