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Tip on how to customize your USB keys/drives/etc

Sep 4

Written by:
Saturday, September 04, 2010 7:28 PM  RssIcon

USB devices with custom picsDo you have a few USB devices?  Ever try to figure out which one is which in Windows Explorer?  Check this quick tip out to help you out!

USB devices with custom picsTell me something, how many USB keys/drives/cameras/smart phones/devices to YOU have? 

You still counting?  You're an average user.  .....  If you're STILL counting, ok, you're an average geek with a lot of USB devices. LOL  But chances are you can't REALLY tell which one is which when you have 2/3/4 of them plugged in.  Sure, you MIGHT have given/changed their volume names, but there is one more trick you can do.  Check this out.

I read about this really cool tip this week from LifeHacker, Top 10 USB Thumb Drive Tricks.  The very first tip talks about changing the icon which Windows Explorer uses to identify your device.  And the trip is tied to the device, so it'll work wherever you plug your device into. 

There are three parts to this trick.

  1. Figure out and find the jpg you want to use to identify your device.  Yes, it'll have to be a jpeg, otherwise you'll have to use another tool to do the next step. The exception here is if you already have an icon file for your device, but if you're reading this, chances are you want something better.
  2. ConvertIcon to various sizesNavigate to Converticon which is a website that takes in your JPEG and converts it to an icon (*.ico) file with various sizes of icons in it.  Very cool!  The tool is quick (COOL), doesn't require any registration (AWESOME) and best of all, creates a various number of icon sizes for you (BEAUTIFUL).
  3. Create a file called autorun.inf on the USB device with some special contents and you're all set!  The contents, check out how simple this is!

If this smells like it's using the Windows autorun feature, yup.  So if you've got it turned off, well, then all bets are off, sorry about that.  But if not, then cool.  The name you put on the icon line is whatever you pick for the icon filename, it's not some magical name, it's just what you pick.  But, has to match what you've got on the drive right?  But you knew that eh? LOL

And ya, that's it.  The hardest thing is getting/finding the picture you want to use!  Trick?  Just go get the marketing picture from the manufacturers site, or maybe just google/bing the function of the device.  Hey Office ClipArt could help you out too?

I did this for my Western Digital backup hard drive, my USB Key and the memory stick for which I have a USB card reader for (check out the pic above, ya, that's a real screen cap, as you can see, I TRIED the volume naming trick).

OH, and another tip?  Make sure to turn the files to hidden in the file properties, as well, tell Windows Explorer to hide hidden files.  That way, you don't have to see those two other "house keeping" files.

As the saying goes, a picture's worth a thousand words, I found this to be a REALLY cool trick for USB devices, and I hope you will too.  Now it's time to grab a coffee and get coding!



LifeHacker: Top 10 USB Thumb Drive Tricks by Kevin Purdy

LifeHacker: Assign a custom icon to your flash drive by Gian Trapani



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