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I wanted to try Ubuntu 18.04 so I used "make start-up disk" to create a USB with the .iso on it (I'm using 16.04 - x64). I then used it to install 18.04 on a spare partition and all good.

Today I wanted to re-use the USB drive but it I cannot access it.

  • I cannot write it.
  • I cannot add files to it as root.
  • I cannot reformat it with GParted.
  • I cannot reformat it with Windows Disk Manager
  • I cannot reformat it with Partition Wizard in Windows.

How can I recover this drive?

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    You used dd or dd under the hood. That images the ISO to flash drive in a hybrid DVD/flash drive boot able mode. It is not a standard partitioned drive then but like a DVD. You generally then have to use dd to erase first sector or two, so partitioning tools will work. See help.ubuntu.com/community/mkusb/wipe I download ISO directly to HDD. Then update with zsync and directly boot ISO using grub's loopmount. I then install on SSD from HDD with toram parameter and it installs in about 10 min.help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2/ISOBoot – oldfred Nov 28 '17 at 15:33
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    There is nothing about the ubuntu .iso that will lock the usb. Could be almost anything from a little lock switch on the usb to a faulty drive. Cant really tell from what you posted. Please update your question with information on your usb, how you are trying to access it, and what errors you get rather than a rant ;) – Panther Nov 28 '17 at 15:52
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    @oldfred : WOO HOOO, yes I am shouting! Fred, you are my Hero. Thank you so much. The mkusb ("return to normal storage device") solved the problem nicely. Your description for installing a new .iso is a little out of my Ubuntu-league so will stick with the startup-disk method. I dare not mess around too much on this main PC. But will try your approach on an older laptop also running 16.04, now that I have wiped the USB clean. :0 – LinuxFerLife Nov 28 '17 at 19:41
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    @Panther : I think it is a justifiable posting. Good software, if it locks something in some way, will give you an option to unlock it after (each) use. Arbitrarily locking and leaving it locked is lazy and unprofessional programming. Owned and sold a couple of programming business in my time and know a lot on how Programmers think. Gee-whiz first and be damned with the Human Interface. Lazy. – LinuxFerLife Nov 28 '17 at 19:47
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    @Panther: SDC clones the ISO to USB as ISO9690 filesystem, some OS do not know what to do with this,GParted does not recognize it but will wipe the formatting if a new partition table is requested. mkusb also does a good job if wipe first MB is requested. – C.S.Cameron Nov 29 '17 at 9:48
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You used dd or dd under the hood which only works with ISOhybrid created install ISOs. Ubuntu ISOs are isohybrid, Windows ISO are not.

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/mkusb/isohybrid

The dd or similar tools like mkusb then image the ISO to flash drive in a hybrid DVD/flash drive bootable mode. It is not a standard partitioned drive then but like a DVD. You generally then have to use dd to erase first sector or two, so partitioning tools will work. See

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/mkusb/wipe

For testing and regular reinstalling better to just directly use ISO. I download ISO directly to HDD first time only. Then update with zsync and directly boot ISO using grub's loopmount. I then install on SSD from HDD with toram parameter and it can be re-installed in about 10 min directly from RAM into existing (previous) partition.

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2/ISOBoot

  • Besides for dd and mkusb I have also resurrected ISO 9660 "locked" drives by creating a new partition table using gparted. – C.S.Cameron Dec 2 '17 at 3:28
  • I note that gparted version .29 added support for UDF , so it may depend on version of gparted. – oldfred Dec 2 '17 at 4:43
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Method to Restore SDC flash drive using GParted

Plug in flash drive to computer running Ubuntu.

Unmount flash drive using Disks.

Open GParted, there will be a libparted warning, ignore it.

Go to Device / Create partition table.

enter image description here

Select partition table type, (msdos), and apply.

At warning select cancel.

Select New, Filesystem, (Fat32), and Add then Apply.

enter image description here

Disk should be restored.

enter image description here

(I usually use the Wipe function in mkusb myself).

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