Making a USB-stick usable for Windows again / 2023-01-23

2023-01-23 Making a USB-stick usable for Windows again
Recently I wanted to have the option to install ubuntu on a PC so I created a USB stick with dd. It worked fine and in the end the existing ubuntu on the PC worked ok and could be upgraded and made available again.

So I wanted to revert this USB stick to the normal filesystem that both Windows and Linux can read and write. This turned out to be more difficult than I expected! First I thought Windows could revert the USB stick to a usable state but this turned out to be impossible. I tried on three Windows 10 systems with admin accounts, but none of them were able to create a usable partition and filesystem! The best result I could get was an error something couldn't be started to format the partition, but without any explanation what couldn't be started. Things that were once perfectly doable under MS-DOS are now impossible.

Back to linux to try and find the right partition type and filesystem options to get access again. I could do a lot of things in linux, but I failed to find the right settings that Windows would see as usable storage.

I shared my problems on irc and someone there had the following list of commands to fix this problem:
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdd bs=1M count=1
parted /dev/sdd mklabel msdos
parted /dev/sdd mkpart primary fat32 1 100%
mkdosfs /dev/sdd1
Which needs to be adjusted for the right device node. Use at your own risk! But indeed after these commands both Windows and Linux were perfectly capable of writing and reading the USB stick.

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