Steps to Set Up Multiple Partitions on a Flash Drive on Windows 10

Thumb drives have come a long way from being the flimsy storage backup that is tucked away in your bag. The storage and transfer speeds have always been a questionable element but with the release of faster and more reliable USB drives over the past few years, there has been a prominent shift in dynamics.

But if you compare the 1 TB internally mounted hard drive of your Windows 10 PC to a portable 1 TB Flash Drive, it is quite obvious as you are likely to work with numerous operating systems with your USB drive as compared to the fixed hard drive. This is where the drive partitioning feature in Windows 10 allows you to program different file systems and encrypt the segments to bridge the security gap.

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Before you begin, it is highly recommended to back up all of the data on your flash drive as this process would result in wiping the disk clean to form the partitions. The easy way to accomplish this task would be via the Windows’ Disk Management system.

  1. Head to the Start menu and type Run in the Search bar. Click on Run.
  2. After opening Run, type diskmgmt.msc and click on OK.
  3. Locate your USB drive from the listed drives in the menu. (You can scroll down at the bottom to reveal more info about the space allocations).
  4. Check the current file format of your drive because NTFS is partition-friendly as compared to FAT32 and exFAT file systems. As you can see, the format is FAT32 currently.
  5. Follow these steps to convert your drive from FAT32 to NTFS file system. (If your USB drive is already in NTFS system format then skip to Step 8). Right-click on your drive and select Format...
  6. Click on File system drop-down menu and select NTFS. Click on OK to proceed.
  7. The system will now prompt you to confirm the operation as all your data will be lost while formatting the drive to NTFS. Therefore, please back up your data before formatting or partitioning of any kind. Click on OK to finish the process.
  8. Right-click on your listed USB device and select Shrink Volume... to get started with the partitioning sequence. 
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  9. The shrinking process enables you to create multiple partitions in your thumb drive. Enter the size of your new partition in the amount of space to shrink in MB menu. Click on the Shrink button to finish.
  10. As soon as you click on the Shrink button, this would create a new "Unallocated" partition in your flash drive.
    set up Multiple Partitions Flash Drive windows 10
  11. Create a New Simple Volume... by right-clicking on the Unallocated space. You can have a functional portion of both FAT32 and NTFS systems in case you need your thumb drive to be compatible with various OSes.
  12. A New Simple Volume Wizard will pop-up, simply click on Next to proceed forward.
    windows 10 multiple partitions
  13. Input the Simple Volume Size in MB of the Partition and click on Next.Multiple Partitions Flash Drive
  14. Now you have to assign a Drive Letter or Path to the Unallocated partition of your USB drive from the drop-down menu. Click on Next to proceed.
  15. The partition needs to be formatted in order to apply the settings. Choose the File system (FAT32, ExFAT, or NTFS) along with the Volume Label to make it easier for you to identify your partition when plugged in. Click on Next when you're done making the above-mentioned changes.Multiple Partitions Flash Drive
  16. A final screen will pop-up, which gives you an overview of the settings that you have selected for your partition. After checking that everything is in order, click on Finish to apply the settings.
  17. This would complete the cycle and now you can see the newly created partition in the Disk Management System.

These partitions can also be viewed and accessed from "This PC" - all you have to do is press the Windows  + E key.

set up Multiple Partitions on a Flash Drive windows 10

Voila! Now you have multiple fully functional Flash Drive partitions.

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