Instructables
Picture of Multi-Partitioned USB ThumbDrive
I am a devoted Linux user, and only use Windows when I have too, and avoid Mac at all costs. I came up with this moderately easy-ish hack, to stop Windows users from reading, or even seeing, the contents of part of my thumbdrive.

Its all based on partitions, and filesystems. Windows can only read NTFS, and FAT filesystems, whereas Linux can read NTFS, FAT, Ext2, Ext3 (and soon Ext4), and some others, but I'm not quite so up-to-speed on those.

Basically, we split the thumbdrive into two parts, one FAT (so anyone can read it) and the other Ext3 (so any linux user can read it.) Simple.

 
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Step 1: Ingredients

These are the basic bit of software and hardware you will need:

Thumbdrive (AKA USB flash memory stick, jump-drive, pen-drive, etc) The bigger storage the better.

Puppy linux (a ~100M operating system) head to: http://www.puppylinux.org/ (I used version 4.1.1, but they are pretty similar.) on a live CD.. (I'll get to that later)
--OR--
An Ubuntu installation, with GParted Installed (this is slightly better)

A working computer with a writeable CD Drive (with power, screen, tasteful desktop background, keyboard mouse, etc..)

Step 2: Download and Install Puppy

Picture of Download and Install Puppy
This step can be skipped if you have GParted installed onto Ubuntu, or any other Linux distribution.

Once you have downloaded the Puppy Linux ISO file, and write it to a CD, there is an inbuilt ISO writer in Windows XP, so all you need to do is head to where you saved the ISO, and right click, and you should find 'write to CD' or something like that. Finish going through the ISO Wizards steps, inserting the blank CD on command, and so on..

Step 3: Start up GParted

Put your Puppy linux CD into the CD tray, re-boot your PC and Puppy should start up, go through the set up, choosing your mouse type, keyboard layout and screen resolution.

Click 'Menu>System>GParted' (this may differ from version to version) a dialog window should pop up, asking which drive you want to edit, click the one with the make and version of your thumbdrive, then click OK.

A window should pop up, looking something like this: (without the numbers, and arrows)

Lily-y1 year ago
can i use partition software to do this on usb?
jgosselin3 years ago
i have a 16gb patriot XT with 3 partitions.. all three partitions are for OS installers fist partition is an AIO windows 7 64 & 32bit. partition 2 is Mac OSX SnowL, partition 3 is ubuntu netbook version (small). I love it that way its friggin awesome i use chameleon boot loader to pick which partition to boot with. easy as pie.
JavaNut13 (author)  jgosselin3 years ago
Seesh! I wish I had a drive big enough for all that.. Mine's really old and only 1gb..
got it on sale @ newegg.com cost me about $30 i think
llamma10104 years ago
 OMG im so like you mac is ****** ******* ****
"avoid Mac at all costs" - awww thats just rough - Mac is a lot closer to Linux than Windows is...

Nice instructable - cool idea

JavaNut13 (author)  computerwiz_2225 years ago
Yeah, I know. I was a 'Windows-ie' but it costs far too much for me.. and Mac has to be installed onto an Apple computer, which would be a problem for me, as I don't buy computers, I build them..

Mac is just to user-friendly.

JavaNut
Was going to be mean but I read your last comment.  As for building and not buying you minght wnt to check out OSX86 for info on how to install OSX on a PC.
Lesedi4 years ago
I have one of those in brown!!!! That drive is my baby!!
JavaNut13 (author)  Lesedi4 years ago
Is it partitioned?
--
JavaNut
Not yet!! as soon as i find it ill do it!
JavaNut13 (author) 4 years ago
WAHOOOO!!!! 1000 views!!!
error325 years ago
Wouldn't it be a better idea to use a more flash suitable filesystem like jffs2 or yaffs because that would make your flash drive last longer.
JavaNut13 (author)  error325 years ago
I don't actually know about other filesystems, but I guess you could format it to whatever you wanted. Its just Ext3 is kind of the 'standard' in Linux, and FAT32 is readable by anyone.

You could create 3 partitions if you feel the need to.
These flash file systems are specifically designed for use on a flash drive and will not wear it down as much as file systems designed for magnetic storage like normal harddrives.
These filesystems should be mountable in any modern linux distro.
Have a look at http://sources.redhat.com/jffs2/ and http://www.yaffs.net/ for some more information :)
Awesome.
I love it.
I love you.
Big hug!
JavaNut13 (author)  Molten Boron5 years ago
:)
nitsujvg5 years ago
just be careful.  the up/downside to windows being such a popular platform is that there are apps/drivers/etc for everything. and ext is no exception. for example on my tripleboot laptop (mac/win/ubuntu) all three operating systems can see ext, fat, ntfs, and hfs.  

now i know most people won't have it set up, but those likely trying to steal your information will be able to if they try.
JavaNut13 (author)  nitsujvg5 years ago
This isn't supposed to be an IronKey all over again, it would be good if it was though.
I don't store sensitive data on my Thumbdrive..

Thanks for that anyway..