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I'm trying to set up an 8GB USB drive a persistent live boot.

The tutorial I am using told me to use fdisk and create two partitions. The first partition is supposed to be just large enough to hold the ISO image I'm using, which in this case is 2.9GB.

Using fdisk I can make a partition, but no matter how large I make it (even filling the entire drive with the one partition), nautilus says I only have 2.6GB of free space, which is not enough for the ISO.

I think the first time I tried this earlier today, I used fdisk and made the partition too small (2.5GB). I have formatted the USB drive multiple times since (and restarted my computer), but I cannot get the drive size to change.

Any suggestions?

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You don't format a drive, you format a partition, which is not necessarily the same thing. If you want it to be blank, go in and delete all partitions on it first. Then you can start over and create two new partitions, and format each one.

If you have a bootable live CD (the normal installation CD), you can boot from it, and run gparted, which will allow you to visually delete and create partitions. Or, I think the windows disk manager will also allow this.

It's been a long time since I've used fdisk, so I can't really help with the details of how to use it. I use gparted now for most things.

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Thanks. I tried gparted, and that fixed my problem. – Keidax Apr 3 '12 at 20:33
Great. gparted is a great tool, much better than fdisk. You can download a gparted lived CD too, with other disk tools. – Marty Fried Apr 4 '12 at 1:07

Partition sizes will be larger than the capacity of file systems stored in them.

A partition denotes a raw block of storage device.

A file system contains a certain amount of overhead which consumes some of this raw storage space. Therefore a file system placed in a partition which is just large enough for a given file will not have sufficient space to hold that file.

You'll need to repartition your drive. I recommend you place any file system that you want Windows to access in the first partition (Windows will only look in the first partition on removable flash media).

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