Mount USB Drives as Folders in Windows

Mount USB Drives as Folders in Windows

I’d like to say that I could make a title like “did you know . . .?” into a series of short articles but I’m not that knowledgeable or interesting. But one thing I did discover today was that Windows can mount external USB drives into folders and not just drive letters.

We have a long standing problem in that normal users cannot change the drive letters that Windows XP assigns to memory sticks/thumb drives/external hard drives. Not a biggie but in some cases XP decides to mount the drive using the same letter as a network drive. Your thumb drive is detected and mounted OK but can’t be used. Bugger. It seems that XP ‘user-space’ doesn’t talk with XP ‘storage-space’ about who gets what.

To get around this we remotely use Disk Manager to change the drive letter. Windows ‘remembers’ the drive letter is associated with the USB device’s unique ID and in the future will keep using the same letter. Again, not a biggie and for the odd user in 10,000 a simple fix.

But with the proliferation of USB storage for anything and everything, the fight of the USB device versus the network drive for drive letters may be a problem for some. Enter the mounting of USB storage to NTFS folders! Users can create a folder on their local machine with a suitable name like, ‘My Pimptastic Red USB Stick – 2GB‘ and mount the device in that folder. No drive letters, no XP tripping over itself and a near infinite number of options.

Now who wants to write a tool that allows users to do that? You’d have my vote in any election.

Update – this old problem is resolved in Windows XP SP3. It knows to check your network mappings if you insert a USB drive when logged in.

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