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I have a USB key that was previously set up as a bootable key (clonezilla)

Because of this there is an MBR on the key that will try (and fail) to boot off the key if it is left in a system. Deleting/formatting partitions won't change this.

On Linux I could use dd to overwrite the first few MB of the key and then repartition it, what is the equivalent way to do this on Windows? (destroying all data on the key is fine)

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Actually, killing the first 4 bytes should be enough. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Aug 21 '12 at 5:23
up vote 4 down vote accepted
 list disk
 select disk X
 list partition
 select partition Y
  • X = the number (not letter) of your USB disk, as indicated by the list disk command.
  • Y = the number (not letter) of the bootble partition, as indicated by the list partition command
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list disk
select disk X

(X = The number of the disk)

Go to Disk Management and create a new partition on the disk, it should then work as normal again.

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Disk Management is found inside the Computer Management tool that ships with Windows -- it took me a few minutes to find it on Control Panel\Administrative Tools. – mMontu Feb 27 '14 at 22:59
This should be marked as answer, it does exactly what has been asked in the most "clean and beautiful" way – lucaferrario Mar 19 '15 at 10:20

For a GUI version Download HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool 2.2.3 Run the exe as Administrator

  1. Select the USB device.
  2. Select the desired file system.
  3. Format.
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