Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Can USB be reused after install

  1. #1


    Posts : 33
    Windows 8.1

    Can USB be reused after install


    I have a 16GB USB flash drive that I will plan to format and download the Windows ISO file to. I wondered if I would be able to reuse the flash drive after installing Windows? Would I be able to add other files to the drive or does it have to remain strictly a Windows install flash drive? In the event that I needed to, would I be able to download Windows again just as long as I keep the product key?

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  2. #2


    San Jose - California
    Posts : 2,847
    8.1x64PWMC Ubuntu14.04x64 MintMate17x64


    Yes, you can reuse it and yes you can add other files to it but to keep it clean, create a folder and put your personal files in it.
    For example, I created a folder called Software and put all the third party applications in it so after Windows Installation, I can install the rest.
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  3. #3


    Posts : 33
    Windows 8.1


    Good to know I can do that. I was thinking that I could use the remaining space for driver updates that I might need after I get the system up and running.
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  4. #4


    Harrisonburg, Va.
    Posts : 10,488
    Windows 8.1.1 Pro with Media Center


    One thing to consider is the format type.
    I format all my usb drives as NTFS & not Fat 32.

    If you format as Fat 32, the file sizes will be limited to 4 GBs each.

    With NTFS the file sizes are in the Exabyte range.

    File Size Matters
    FAT32 file size support tops out at 4GB and volume size tops out at 2TB. This means that you're limited to 2TB FAT32 partitions if you want to use a 4TB drive. It also means that you are limited to 4GB files. This is a concern with uncompressed high-definition movie files, where 30GB files are not unheard of. Theoretically, NTFS is limited by design to 16EB (Exabytes). One Exabyte is the equivalent of one billion Gigabytes, so we're quite a ways away from maxing out NTFS. In practice, 2 to 4TB volumes are the limit at this time. Larger volumes will require a 64-bit OS and compatible hardware.
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  5. #5


    Harrisonburg, Va.
    Posts : 10,488
    Windows 8.1.1 Pro with Media Center


    As you can see in the picture, there is 1, 20.2 GB file.

    The usb is formatted as NTFS.
    If it was Fat 32 it would have 5, 4 GB files & 1, .2 GB file.
    6 total.

    Click image for larger version
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  6. #6


    India
    Posts : 1,536
    Win 8.1 Update x64


    Sorry for getting in ,
    So EACH FILE size is limited to 4GB in Fat32 ?

    Can i use Rufus to format to ntfs, or is there any other?

    For windows iso to work, I've heard sometimes FAT32 only works, is that correct?
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  7. #7


    Harrisonburg, Va.
    Posts : 10,488
    Windows 8.1.1 Pro with Media Center


    Quote Originally Posted by visruth View Post
    Sorry for getting in ,
    So EACH FILE size is limited to 4GB in Fat32 ?

    Can i use Rufus to format to ntfs, or is there any other?

    For windows iso to work, I've heard sometimes FAT32 only works, is that correct?
    I don't know anything about ISOs.

    To format a usb to ntfs, insert it & open it to view files & right click it & set the format to ntfs---

    Click image for larger version

    4 GBs---
    It also means that you are limited to 4GB files.
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  8. #8


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Hi there

    If you create separate partitions on the USB stick you can create a FAT32 and a NTFS partition if you need to -- create say 4GB for Windows ISO and 8 GB for your other data.

    Cheers
    jimbo
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  9. #9


    Harrisonburg, Va.
    Posts : 10,488
    Windows 8.1.1 Pro with Media Center


    Myself, I have many usb drives.

    If I wanted Fat or Fat 32 I would make it so.
    or ntfs if I wanted that.

    I didn't mind spending the money buying them.
    If you take care of them they last years & years.

    I keep mine in pill bottles with labels.
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  10. #10


    India
    Posts : 1,536
    Win 8.1 Update x64


    Ok

    David,

    Allocation unit size is default 4096 bytes? It's same for both fat32 & ntfs?

    The flash drives I have usually goes through the hands of many of my friends for copying files, ISOs etc. & finally come to me after some time, so I consider it as rough use

    @Jimbo
    so for ISO - fat32 works usually is it? How can I partition USB, just like HDD?
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Can USB be reused after install
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