What is USB Data Repartitioning?
Not too many people know what data repartitioning is, even in the promotional industry, but ironically almost everyone in the industry has had their hands on a USB drive that has been repartitioned in some way or form. On the basic level, USB data repartitioning is formatting a USB Drive into different sections. These sections can range from any size from only a few megabytes, to several gigabytes.
There are, however, multiple ways to repartition a USB flash drive and each way has a particular use associated with it. For example, it is possible to repartition a USB drive to make certain or all your files read only and in-erasable. Method number one is to take a portion of the USB drive, load it up with your files, and make it a read only partition. This tells your computer that this particular section of the USB can only be read from.
This prevents customers from deleting your files when they insert the USB drive into their computer. This is a fantastic option for promotions and give-aways because it allows you to keep your info on the drive, while allowing customers to still use your drive. This particular method is used fairly often and results in both parties getting what they desire out of a USB drive; however, if you lock down the entire USB drive and not allow customers/clients to use the drive for their own reasons, well then your USB may find the bottom end of a trash can fairly quickly.
Another way to repartition a USB is to create a CDROM partition. This method is very similar to a read only partition but with some minor differences. First a CDROM partition does lock down your files and prevent them from being deleted like a read only partition, but by using a CDROM partition you can also include an autorun feature that automatically plays files like a CD.
This is particularly important because a traditional partition is read by a computer as a USB drive, and thus a Windows window pops up asking you what you would like to do. Would you like to view your files, view your pictures, play your music and etc. are all available options on a normal partition. A CDROM partition is handles much differently by a computer and when the USB is inserted into the computer, your media files will automatically play.
So what are the advantages of either method? Well first with the read only partition, customers will insert the USB in their computer and the computer will read each partition as a USB. This makes it much less confusing as one partition is free public space, and the other section can only be read/copied from. This method is great for companies that want their information viewed, but don’t want to bother the client every time the USB drive is plugged in. However, the downside to this method is that autorun is not possible and that in order for a client to view your files, they will have to click on them.
The advantages of a CDROM partition is the autorun feature. When a client inserts your promotional flash drive into their computer, your autorun will pop up for them to interact with or watch. However, it should be noted that this option is not recommended for companies that have highly detailed autoruns with audio and video as the client will be bombarded with your material every time the plug it in. An annoying and intrusive USB drive will be tossed out long before it fulfills its usefulness.
Also, autoruns do not work with Macs. This feature is unfortunate as it would be rather popular in the promotional USB industry, but it is simply just not possible.