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USB Key Drives, To Partition Or Not? - Last Modified 2008-10-14 15:24 UTC - Created 2008-10-14 15:24 UTC

I was recently working with making some USB key drives bootable with Linux. I noticed that some of my drives had single primary partitions on them while others had no partitions at all.

All of them use the FAT filesystem. In my attempt to install grub on one it failed because it had no partitions.

Linux has no problem mounting drives with no partitions (referred to as raw devices). Windows XP doesn't have issues either, but for "Removable" drives it does have the following behavior:

I've noticed the following about making a usb drive bootable for Linux: