Thumb drive woes
August 23, 2006 8:48 AM   Subscribe

Need help with managing volume policy permissions for removable devices in WinXP.

I have a workstation on a domain. My standard user account uses the domain log-in. We are not to run our systems as administrators (which makes using XP a pain) but I can run specific programs as administrator if I have to.

Unfortunately I cannot for the life of me figure out what I need to do to be able to change the write caching policy for removable devices. Zip drives and USB drives are automatically installed optimized for performance rather than quick removal. Changing this permission as administrator does not change it for my standard user account. I have tried mucking with registry permissions and the group policy editor. Currently I have managed to give myself permission to load and unload drivers, view and manage devices, but still cannot change the write caching policy - am I missing an obvious registry key permission or local/group policy that should be changed to fix this?

Microsoft support gives me multiple pages of info about write caching and about permissions but no data on managing this issue. I can open device manager, I can get volume policies for my drives, but the option to change policies is grayed out.

Having to manually stop writes to the drive every time I need to remove it is screwing with my workflow. If my work system trashes my entire drive due to write caching I'm going to be pretty pissed.
posted by caution live frogs to Computers & Internet (1 answer total)
AFAIK, the safe thing to do is manually stop removable drives no matter whether they are set to "Optimize for performance" or "Optimize for quick removal." Optimize for quick removal disables write-caching, but if you have a complex programs running from the drive (like Firefox), they can keep writing to the drive for a good while after closing.

Again AFAIK, in Windows XP all NTFS-formatted drives are automatically set as "Optimize for performance", and FAT/FAT32 are "Optimize for quick removal." The command line "convert" command can change a drive from FAT/FAT32 to NTFS, but not vice versa.

Portableapps thread on formatting a USB drive for NTFS

That said, this may help you, but was too kludge-ish for me to trust:

Portableapps thread on safely removing a USB Drive with a batch file
posted by na2rboy at 11:47 AM on August 23, 2006

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