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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Recover Missing Or Unallocated Space on USB Drive Using Windows Diskpart Commands

If you’ve ever tried to burn an ISO image on your USB drive, you might end up with some missing or unallocated space on your removable USB drive.
Some other day, I was preparing a Linux Live USB disk from the Linux terminal. I burnt the image on my USB and converted it into a live USB disk successfully. That is not what I am going to discuss here. However, when I checked the remaining volume of my 4 GB pen drive, I was stunned – only 752 MB out of 753 was free.

I discovered another thing from the explorer window. It was showing 752 MB is free out of 753 MB, but my USB drive had 4 GB total space, strange!!
I thought, it might have happened due to the Linux image and I can make it free by formatting whenever I need. So, I completed the task with that live USB and returned back into the Window 7 operating system. Here is what I saw when opening Windows Explorer after formatting the USB drive (I performed both quick and complete format).
lost-space-on-usb-drive
The lost space was not recovered with the traditional Windows format utility. The space status was the same – “752 MB free of 753 MB”. This 752 MB space of my USB device was completely accessible and I could do all things like copying, deleting files etc.
Then I opened Windows Disk Management utility and discovered the reason behind the missing space. I found that there is 2.99 GB of space as unallocated partition.
You can find the lost space of your pen drive or any other removable disk using the utility called Windows Disk Management by which you can reallocate the unallocated spaces of your hard disks. You can even partition your hard disk without formatting using Windows Disk Management.
1. Type “disk management” into the Windows 7 start menu search box and click “Create and format hard disk partitions” from the result(s).
open-windows-disk-management-from-start-menu
2. You can find your computers hard disk (Disk 0) and the removable disk (Disk 1) under the disk management window.
3. If you have lost a large amount of space on your USB disk, you will see an unallocated partition under the Disk 1 pane at the disk management console, keep patience. Your removable disk is absolutely fine.
Windows-disk-management-console
This helped me understand the matter behind the missing space. Then I tried to use the Windows Disk Management console to merge the unallocated partition. After failing with that, I tried to delete that partition. But, nothing worked. I was bit embarrassed as I tried everything to recover the missing unallocated partition.
Finally, I could recover the lost unallocated space of my USB drive using the Diskpart utility. Diskpart is an inbuilt utility of Windows which acts from the command line.

How to Recover Lost Space on A USB Drive by Reusing Unallocated Partition

Diskpart is an inbuilt utility of Windows 7 about which many users do not know. Here is how to use this utility to reallocate the lost or unallocated partition of a USB drive.
Type “diskpart” (without the quotes) at your Windows 7 start menu search box and select diskpart from the result to open the Diskpart console.
open-windows-diskpart-from-start-menu
Execute the following commands at the command prompt one-by-one.
1. list disk
This command will list all the hard disks attached with your computer including the removable drive. The Disk 1 reflects the USB drive generally.
2. select disk 1
This command will select the USB disk.
3. clean
The above command deletes all the partitions at the selected disk; here the USB drive.
4. create partition primary
This command creates a new primary partition, allocated with the total available space on your disk.
5. select partition 1
6. format fs=ntfs quick
recover-lost-space-on-usb
By the above commands, you’ve successfully recovered the unallocated partition and merged it into the new partition.
Before using your newly partitioned USB drive, you need to format the partition that you just created. The 5th and 6th commands are nothing but commands to format the removable device. Now you can use your USB drive as usual with the full space which was available by default.
Problem Gets Occurred with Unallocated Space on USB Drive
When you try to burn an image into your removable device using the Linux terminal or any Windows image burner, it changes the complete partition system of your USB device. Some operating systems like Chrome OS, Linux etc.; basically based on Linux architecture; require the source disk which should not have any free space to work properly.
Did you ever face this type of USB problem? Then how did you fix it? Drop your comments at the comment section.

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