Icons & Labels for Removable Media

I have so many drives in my PC it makes my head spin—15 to be exact. I have to label them or I would be opening and closing all kinds of drives looking for what I want. You can also assign different icons to drives, or folders, which makes them completely customizable and unique.

What about Removable drives or CD’s? You can label CD’s, but wouldn’t it be cool to have an icon for that CD like the programs you buy? Wouldn’t it be great to do the same for your USB thumb drive or a memory (camera) card?

What I’m going to talk about here is a way to bind icons and labels to all your removable media, making them more polished and easier to identify no matter whose PC you view them in. It also makes you look like a pro when you give someone a CD that you burned 🙂

This procedure works on CD’s, DVD’s, Flash or Thumb drives, and Memory (camera) Cards. On memory cards, you might not want to do this if it is used in a camera. Some camera’s don’t like foreign files, or the autorun file will be deleted when the camera re-formats the card.

There are two basic things you need to do in order for this to work:

1) The icon file (a specially created .ico file) has to be in the Root (Meaning it can’t be in any folders) of the media.


2) You have to create an autorun file, which is super hard to do… just joking, it’s simple.

Now that you have an idea of what’s going on, let’s see how it all plays out. I suggest trying this out on some media that you can erase such as any Re-writable Optical Disk (CD-RW, DVD-RW), or a USB Flash Dive (i.e. Thumb drive) or memory card.

If you don’t have any custom icons, you can get thousands of free, no strings attached downloadable icons here…

Ok, now that you have your icons, and your removable media, let’s start.

1) In order for us to have an icon/label represent this media, no matter what PC you insert it in, the icon needs to go where the media does. It will make sense in a second. So with that said, go to the folder where you stored the icons you downloaded.

2) All we have to do now is to let whatever PC attempts to open this media know that it has customized attributes. This is done by creating an “autorun.inf” file, which is a text file that tells Windows, “Hey, read this information”.

Open up Notepad (Start/Run then type “notepad”) and type the following in the text document:


3) Once everything is correct and looks exactly like this (the name for icon will be the icon that you’re putting in the root and the label will be whatever you want) save as “autorun.inf”

* When you burn a CD/DVD you normally get the option to label it within the Wizard or program you use, so you don’t need to put the label information in the “autorun.inf” file.

4) Put your CD-RW or whatever in the drive and then navigate to it using My Computer
(Double-click on “My Computer” then double-click on your blank media), you should be looking at a blank window—this is called the Root of the drive. Copy the “autorun.inf” and the .ico files to this window.

* In XP you can put files right in the CD window and they wait to be burned. With older Windows insert your disk, open your burning software, and select the files. In other media—memory cards, thumb drives—the files are added when you drag & drop.


5) Burn your CD/DVD. If you dropped the files into the root of other types of removable media—memory card, thumb drive—then they are already added.

Now when you insert the media, your icon and label should appear.

~ Chad

Chad Stelnicki

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