How do I get dynamic drive icons on my Windows desktop?
April 15, 2007 11:05 AM   Subscribe

How can I get Windows XP to show an icon on the Desktop for each mounted drive like Linux does?

I am currently running a dual-boot Ubuntu/Windows XP system, and like the way that Ubuntu shows the mounted drives or loaded CDs on the desktop, with dynamic icons which appear change when drives or discs are added or removed. Is there any way to emulate this behaviour on Windows, either natively or using other (preferably free) software?

Essentially, the only thing on my Windows XP Desktop is the My Computer icon anyway, so this would save me one whole click (the savings!) every time I wanted to browse my computer's file system.
posted by chorltonmeateater to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I accidentally found out that you can actually drag off toolbars from the taskbar one day. (at least, i don't THINK this is "common knowledge...)

Right click on the taskbar, click on "toolbars" and if "My Computer" isn't already there for you, find it via the "new toolbar." Unlock the taskbar and you can actually drag the toolbar out of the taskbar. I keep the My Computer toolbar at the top of my desktop for easy access & less cluttering in the taskbar. (Of course if screen real estate on your desktop is important to you, this "solution" would suck).

Unfortunately, it'll show the main drives regardless of whether or not you have something in there (e.g., DVDs, CDs, etc) but I find it to be nice when you've plugged in an external or a USB drive and it's conveniently at the top. So..not so dynamic, but I find it convenient enough for my use.
posted by mittenedsex at 11:15 AM on April 15, 2007

If you make a shortcut on the desktop to your drive, it will have a different icon depending on if it is connected. Just right-click-drag each drive to the desktop, select 'create shortcut here' and voila! When the drive is connected (like a flash drive) it will have the standard icon, when it is disconnected, it will have a little red and white question mark on it.

This won't work for CD drives (the icon won't change) but it should work for other types. I'm not sure this is what you were thinking of though.
posted by philomathoholic at 11:21 AM on April 15, 2007

I do this with shortcuts. Right click on the mapped drive in My Computer and select create shortcut. Drag it to the desktop - you can then rename it to what ever you want.
posted by Wolfie at 11:24 AM on April 15, 2007

Glad to help out a resident of Chorlton.

Check out the "Folders as Holders" heading on this page. I haven't tried this but if you right-click the new folder and make it hidden (then refresh the desktop by hitting F5), does the drive icon still appear when the USB stick is inserted? This might be the perfect solution for you.
posted by humblepigeon at 1:38 AM on April 16, 2007

@ humblepigeon - thanks, fellow Chorltonite, but I don't see that header: it seems to require registration.

@ mittenedsex - wow, I didn't know you could do that; it looks a bit ugly, but that might be pretty useful.
posted by chorltonmeateater at 8:19 PM on April 16, 2007

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