Which USB Mass Storage Device is which?
December 30, 2008 4:19 PM   Subscribe

How can I change the generic name "USB Mass Storage Device" in my Vista system tray "Safely Remove Hardware" dialog?

It's not uncommon for me to have a couple of external harddrives plugged in to my Vista laptop alongside a memory card and an mp3 player. While all of these devices have unique drive letters and unique names in windows explorer (one of the drives is always called 400gig, for instance, another is always called 500gig), they're all called "USB Mass Storage Device" in the system tray's "Safely Remove Hardware" menu. So when I need to unplug one but not all, I find myself taking a stab at which device is which and usually I pick the wrong one. I can solve the confusion easily enough by opening the "my computer" window and figuring out the drive letter from there, but that's an extra step that I'd love to get rid of. Ideally, the dialog would always say something like "Safely remove 400gig - Drive (x:)" and stay the same for each device each time it's plugged in.

So, is it possible to change the menu options from "Safely remove USB Mass Storage Device - Drive (x:)" to something unique for each device?
posted by msbrauer to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The reason its listed as generic at the moment is because when you plugged the device into the computer, the only drivers that Windows could find that would make your device function were the generic drivers for such a device that usually come preinstalled with Windows itself.

Therefore, the only way I can think of without some serious hacking of the registry or something would be to visit the website of the manufacturer of your USB Mass Storage device and see if they have some specific drvers for the device. If they do, install them. It would then show up as 'Sony 40GB External USB Drive' or whatever.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:32 PM on December 30, 2008

I've never manually "ejected" USB mass storage in Windows 2k/XP/Vista/2008 and haven't had any issues. As long as you're not unplugging mid file transfer, I wouldn't worry about it.
posted by wongcorgi at 4:36 PM on December 30, 2008

Not quite the solution you're looking for, but as long as you're in the My Computer menu, you can right-click whichever drive you want to eject and the Safely Remove option should be on the context menu.
posted by sinfony at 4:48 PM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Actually, now that I think about it, you could set up Windows to always give a particular device the same drive letter (this is done via the Computer Management -> Disk Management menu). Right-click on any particular drive and select "Change drive letter and paths." Henceforth, that device will always be located at whatever drive letter you've assigned, and if you don't have too many drives to remember which is which, that'll get you more or less where you want. I have mine set to their initial letters (eg S: for my Sansa and I: for my iPod), which makes it easier to remember.
posted by sinfony at 4:53 PM on December 30, 2008

I don't know if it's the same in Vista, but in XP if you double-click the icon, a window will show up. There's a check box there that will show the drive letter(s) associated to each particular device.
posted by phrayzee at 5:13 PM on December 30, 2008

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