How can I make a USB stick "fixed" instead of "removable"?
September 1, 2007 3:52 PM   Subscribe

How can I make a USB stick "fixed" instead of "removable" on Windows Vista?

I have been using Mozy remote backup to protect my files. I just bought a new USB stick and want Mozy to back it up as well. However, Mozy does not detect the USB stick. I checked on Mozy's site and found:

"MozyHome does support most types of external drives (excluding thumbdrives), but only if Windows sees your external drive as 'fixed.'"

Windows considers my USB stick "removable" and thus Mozy will not back it up. How can I make Windows Vista consider the USB stick "Fixed" instead of "Removable"?

posted by chrisalbon to Technology (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Wouldn't a USB stick be the "thumbdrives" that it doesn't support?
posted by smackfu at 3:57 PM on September 1, 2007

Yes, but I was hoping I could make Windows consider the Thumbdrive a "fixed" drive instead of "removable".
posted by chrisalbon at 4:02 PM on September 1, 2007

But it is removable.

I think you need a different backup program.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:48 PM on September 1, 2007

You might be able to trick it by mounting it as a volume instead of a drive letter. After you connect the memory stick go into disk management (right mouse click "Computer" in explorer or on your desktop).
Select "Disk Management" and then right click on your removable disk.
Select "Change drive letters and paths" and then the "Remove" button. Click OK to the warning.
You can then select "Change drive letters and paths" and mount the disk under a folder of your C:\ drive.

You might want to create a new folder for this task.
posted by Mitheral at 7:51 PM on September 1, 2007

...or just buy a flash drive that shows up as fixed.

posted by niles at 8:09 PM on September 1, 2007

If it's personal data on the stick that you're backing up I recommend encryption. Truecrypt is considered good. Here's the relevant part: When you mount a volume with truecrypt there's an option to mount it as a removable disk. So, encrypt your data to a truecrypt volume on the stick, mount the volume as a fixed drive, and have your backup program do it's thing.
posted by philomathoholic at 11:51 PM on September 1, 2007

I think the backup application is objecting not to the USBness/removableness of your Flash drive but the Flashness of your Flash drive. Probably for a good reason: It can't verify that a Flash drive is the same Flash drive you told it you wanted it to back up.

Does Vista allow you to run a script where you copy the Flash drive to somewhere on a hard drive and then run the backup application? Like a .bat file? (Windows 2000 can; I'm not going anywhere near Vista so I don't know whether it can, too.)
posted by gum at 1:22 AM on September 2, 2007

Under XP, you can do this with disk management. I don't have a card handy to check with, but I'm pretty sure you bring up disk management, and right-click on the drive in question. There will be some kind of pop-up menu that will let you set an option something like 'optimize as fixed device'.

If you do this, remember that it is absolutely critical that you stop the drive with the hardware-removal tool in your system tray before you unplug it. Windows does heavy caching on non-removable drives, and pulling it out before Windows is ready can damage the filesystem.

If you can't find it, let me know, and I'll dig up a thumb drive to play with.
posted by Malor at 4:23 AM on September 2, 2007

I tried that Malor under Vista and it doesn't change the Removablness of the drive.

If you want to take qum's approach Microsoft's SyncToy will handle it automatically.
posted by Mitheral at 4:38 AM on September 2, 2007

This forum post describes how to hack some .INF files to make any USB mass storage device appear as "fixed". It uses the drivers for an external MicroDrive device, and works by making the machine think any old flash disk is a MicroDrive and should be driven by this particular driver.
posted by Myself at 8:02 AM on September 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

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