Restore USB Flash Disk Back to Full Capacity

Often malware infects the USB disks in such a way that the capacity of the USB disks is reduced. For example, a 8GB USB flash key may show up only as a 500kb USB key in Windows. Even after you remove the malware or format such a disk, the capacity does not change and you are pretty much stuck. But thanks to a tiny software called BootIce, you can now format such a USB disk and restore them back to their original full capacity.

BootIce is freeware for Windows. The download is in form of an portable EXE file. BootIce is a standalone Windows program so it does not require installation.

CAUTION : Formatting and repartitioning your USB disk would cause all the data on it to be erased. Please backup your exisiting data on the USB drive before proceeding.

Insert the affected USB flash key in your computer and then run the BootIce software by double-clicking on the BootIce.exe. Because BootIce needs formatting permissions, so you may see the User Account Control window pop-up in Windows Vista/7. Just give the administrator permissions and BootIce window would open. If you are running Windows XP, then you need to log in with an administrator level account.

Select the destination drive in the BootIce window. Make sure it is the affected USB key that you have inserted. Then click on the Parts Manage button as shown in the picture :

Restore USB Disk to Full Capacity using BootIce

A new window will be opened, showing you the different partitions on the selected USB drive. Here you can different parameters for different partitions on the selected USB disk like the drive letter assigned by Windows and the partition sizes. Click on the button labeled ReFormat USB Disk as shown :

Restore USB Disk to Full Capacity using BootIce

In the Repartition and Format window, select USB-HDD Mode (Single Partition) option from the list of options given. Leave the Partition Alignment to the default (Align to cylinder). Then click on the Next button.

Restore USB Disk to Full Capacity using BootIce

A tiny window showing you to choose the formatting options would pop-up. You should choose either FAT32 or FAT16 as target file system. Most of the USB disks originally come with FAT16 formattting, so you may want to choose FAT16. You can choose any name of your like as the volume label. Click OK to proceed.

Restore USB Disk to Full Capacity using BootIce

You would be shown a confirmation dialog. Make sure you have backed up all the files from the target USB disk. Then choose OK to proceed for repartitioning and reformatting the selected USB flash disk.

Restore USB Disk to Full Capacity using BootIce

If everything goes right, then you should see a congratulations message after a few seconds. Now you can check the USB disk capacity in the Windows Explorer. It should be restrored back to the original full capacity. It is now ready for your use. You can format it again using Windows inbuilt formatting function or just start using it right away.

You can download the BootIce software from http://bootice.narod.ru/.

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  • Seeker320

    I bought one Toshiba flash drive that was formatted in exFat system. I couldn’t format it to NTFS; both in Windows (from the Windows Explorer) and in Ubuntu (with GParted). In Windows it said that it was unable to format it; in Ubuntu it did format it, but then it failed. Until I downloaded this magnificent tool and were finally able to format it in only a few seconds with NTFS file system.
    I guess that the only thing I want to say, even though he might not be reading this, is thank you; both to this article and (specially) to Pauly, because this free software solved my problems.

  • Patrick

    Used bootlice procedure to restore kingston 8gb data travel (usb2.0) used for recording tv . After using procedure it reads used 0 Reserved 5040mb Free 2393mb which would record about 30 mins prog. I hoped procedure would reduce mb devoted to memory. Patrick

  • chuffchuf

    remember to unplug and reinsert the usb stick afterwards.
    sometimes the new size won’t show .until you do this.

  • chuffchuf

    if u are using the usb for general use,then use a anti autorun program .
    it will put a filefolder on the usb to stop any autorun virus

    regrun is a good program that has a utility to protect all drives from autorun virus,

  • lc116235

    where the hell is the executable…It this site playing some kinda of game…I only want the BootIce executable…

    • http://www.trishtech.com/ Trisha P.

      Link for the BootIce is given at the end of the post. From the link you can download all the versions of BootIce.

  • Naveen

    I followed the exact steps for 8 GB Toshiba pen drive, which is showing 4 MB as it’s capacity but it didn’t work…