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

23 thoughts on “Restore USB Flash Disk Back to Full Capacity

  1. Thanks so much ,this application of BOOTICE has helped me to solve my flash drive .
    Thanks, Thanks God blessing you my brother.


  3. plzzz help i have a 16 gb usb its showing 4 mb i followed your method but its still the same problem what should i do ????plzz help

  4. Purchased 512 GB flash drive on eBay from China that was actually 8 GB but now I know better. Wasn’t expensive.

    ReFormat USB disk > USB-HDD mode (Multi-Partitions)
    Set partition 1 to what you think the flash drive size actually is (other software can help determine this)
    Hide the remaining 500 GB under ‘Operation’ of main Partitions Management window

    Return to My Computer and format

  5. I don’t believe that this is caused by malware only. I have got this issue after doing a reformat with Boot-it Bare Metal software. I am sure of what I am writing here because Boot-it Bare Metal made unusable two USB keys and they both have the same issue that cannot be resized to original 8GB size. The USB keys now show only 125MB size. The problem with software makers is that in quite a few instances they do a damage and they don’t have routines to fix it.

  6. Hope it works. Thanks! UPDATE: Works like a charm, it made my 28GB flash drive whole again. Before it would only show 3GB of available space. It even gave me a little more space 29.7GB total!

  7. Just connect to a Linux distribution and format the flash drive. I have used Kali Linux…. I recovered my drive to full 8GB… Simple humble… 🙂

    1. My Kingston 8GB drive was appearing as 2.35MB in Windows… Bootice recognized the correct capacity right at startup, did all steps just like the guide told and all went just as expected, got my 8GB flash drive back.

  8. 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,

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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

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