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Getting a flash drive recognised as Local not Removable

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Last seen: 4 years 4 months ago
Joined: 2006-12-17 14:24
Getting a flash drive recognised as Local not Removable

A flash drive is conventionally recognised in Windows as Removable, but there are advantages to getting it recognised as Local, like the built in hard drive and external IDE drives.

>> there is a thread around here describing that problem ...

Couldn't find it unfortunately: so I'm sorry if I end up repeating well-known stuff, or -- worse -- stealing somebody else's thunder.

>> Windows only supports one mounted partition on a flash-drive.
>> Linux doesn't have this limitation so once again it's M$ deciding
>> for you what you may or may not do with your hardware.
>> If only the flash-drive manufacturers would stop setting the RMB
>> to "removable" ...

You can get Windows to recognise a flash drive as Local rather than Removable, and then the OS will also recognise all the partitions created on that drive (up to 4) and not just the first. The key is to impose a driver upgrade on your flash hardware.

1. Visit
2. Go to Hitachi Microdrive
3. Download
4. Extract cfadisk.sys and cfadisk.inf

and place them anywhere you like. The Desktop will do.

Don't touch the binary file cfadisk.sys; but you need to edit the text file cfadisk.inf so that certain key lines in it match your flash drive, and not the Hitachi Microdrive it was built for. So, as preparation for the editing step, identify your flash drive correctly:

5. Start -> Programs -> Administrative Tools -> Computer Management
6. Choose Device Manager in Left panel
7. Choose Disk drives in Right panel
8. Identify your flash drive from the list (eg "Ut161 USB2Flash USB Device")

Remember this shorthand name. Leave the Computer management window open if you like: you are going to return to it. Now you need the longhand "technical" name (key name) for your flash drive. To do this you will access the Windows registry. Be careful! You don't want to edit the registry, just copy a phrase from it.

9. Start -> Run -> type "regedit" and press OK
11. Right-click on the line that matches the shortname for your flash drive
12. Choose "Copy Key Name".

That's all you need to do, so now

13. Close the registry

as it's a dangerous thing to leave open. The longkeyname is in your clipboard. Now comes the editing bit:

14. Open cfadisk.inf with an editor like Notepad

(Probably double-clicking on it will start Notepad by default, depending on how your File Types are set up.)

15. Find 3+3+2 = 8 lines under [cfadisk_device] and delete any 7 of them
16. Select everything from IDE\ to end-of-line inclusive
(ie after "cfadisk_install,")
17. Right-click Paste

to insert the longkeyname. Actually its longer than you want in this context, so

18. Edit the middle chunk to read "..cfadisk_install,USBSTOR\Disk&Ven.."

and then Save and Exit. (By the way the line you have edited is a single line. If it's got wrapped into two, edit it back into one.) You now have the text file cfadisk.inf in the required format. Go back to the Computer Management window and

19. Right-click on the device shortname under Disk drives in the Right panel
20. Choose Update driver
21. Choose Install from a list or specific location and press Next
22. Select "Don't search. I will choose the driver to install" and press Next
23. Press Have Disk (even though you haven't)
24. Browse to your recently edited cfadisk.inf
(colocated with cfadisk.sys of course)
25. Press Open then OK

Ignore the objection that "This driver is not digitally signed!" and

26. Press Next then Yes then Finish

and there you are. Close everything up and open My Computer. You'll find that your flash drive is identified as a Local disk and not a Removable disk, with all the benefits thus conferred. Specifically, you can create up to 4 partitions on your flash drive which are all visible to, and recognised by, Windows.

If something goes wrong, or if you later regret this step, you can recover the original hardware architecture by right-clicking on the device shortname in Computer Management and choosing Properties -> Driver -> Roll back driver.


sergentsiler's picture
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: 2007-02-28 11:37
or you just could...

format the drive in NTFS and boot the comp with the drive in it. i had a problem with that once lost about 13 megs off of my drive due to a lost partition that was locked.



Last seen: 5 years 9 months ago
Joined: 2007-02-19 09:09

Thanks Fergus, a good write up.

A minor shortcoming to the approach is it is only effective on the pc in which you install the filter. If you use the device on other pcs, they will only see one partition. For a discussion on making the drive itself indicate it is "Fixed" check out this thread:

As has been noted numerous times before NTFS is not recommended for USB flash drives that need to last for an extended time. It also prevents the drive from being bootable.

BTW The link to the posting is:



Last seen: 14 years 1 month ago
Joined: 2010-05-26 13:40
thanks it works

thanks it works fine!

question: at step 16. I leaved IDE\.... so that the step 18.8. Edit the middle chunk to read "..cfadisk_install,USBSTOR\Disk&Ven.."

looks so:
.... cfadisk_install,IDE\Disk&Ven_ .....

with ide\
and not usbstor\

what the differences?
i have patitionated the flash drive and it works.

thanks a lot in advance foer your reply
best regards

Last seen: 5 years 9 months ago
Joined: 2007-02-19 09:09

Why did you choose that approach rather than what was written?

BTW & FWIW I was wrong before, NTFS formated drives can indeed be booted.


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