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How to Password Protect and Partition a USB Flash Drive


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Knowing how to password protect and partition a USB flash drive is very important to the safety, integrity, and manageability of your data.

When you partition a USB flash drive, you make it so that you can write software into your flash memory while at once running software in another bank of your flash memory (thus you will need a flash memory with at least two banks; one bank = four memory chips). Partitioning is used to enhance manageability, performance, or data availability.

The BIOS command for partitioning your USB flash drive is: Router (config) #partition flash partitions [size1 size2]

Note: if you are running a Cisco 1600 or 3600 series router (modular, multiservice access platforms), your command would be: Router (config) #partition flash-filesystem: [number-of-partitions] [partition-size]

There is software called BootIt that you can download and use to cause Windows XP or Vista to allow you multiple USB flash drive partitions by "Flipping the Removable Bit" that restricts partitioning. However, this software is potentially harmful to your flash memory drive and is not recommended. Two other flash memory partition software packages that are more reliable are Advanced Partition Manager 6.0 (lets you create, copy, resize, and move hard drive partitions without data loss), and Rohos Mini Drive (lets you create a password protected USB drive partition on a guest computer).

Cisco routers permit more than two flash drive partitions (it all depends on how many banks your flash drive has). Every other platform will permit just two partitions.

For password protection of your USB flash memory drive, there is a free program called Cryptainer LE that many people use. Now, to use this program you need to slice up your drive into segments (the software does that for you), but the maximum volume size per segment is 25Mb-meaning that a lot of files that aren't the usual text files can't be protected unless you use multiple drives, which is very cumbersome. Another program that is similar but isn't quite as restricted is Folder Lock, which allows you to set up a password protection system on your PC and then export it to your USB flash drive and then put different folders under digital lock and key in different "lockers".

Another program called Securestix (not free) let's you pick and choose which USB flash drive files you will password protect. Let's face it: some files that are highly valuable to you just don't have any meaning to a would-be identity thief.

Some flash memory drive devices come with password protection software. These typically allow you to designate some files as "public" or "private", and some might even come with fingerprint reading security programming.

Again, knowing how to password protect and partition a USB flash drive is important knowledge that allows you to operate your flash drive with safety and better performance.

Derek Rogers is a freelance writer who writes for a number of UK businesses. For logo branded USB Flash Drives , he recommends


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