How to set a custom icon and label for removable drives in Windows
Geek or not, there is a time when you become bored with the standard icon used by your USB memory stick or your external hard disk drive. Each time you plug it into a new computer, the same boring icon and name are displayed? What about changing them to something fun and cool? What about using a Mario inspired name and icon? It is entirely possible and in this tutorial we will show you how to do it.
NOTE: This guide applies to all versions of Windows, including Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.
Step 1. Find a cool icon and name for the removable drive
First, you need a cool icon (a file with the extension .ico ) and a good name to use for your geeky memory stick. I wanted a memory stick inspired by Mario games and I made my memory stick look like what you see in the icon below.
If you like my Mario icon, you can find it here: Super Mario icon. However, if you don't or if you simply want something else for your memory stick, check this roundup: 5 locations from where you can download icons for free. The websites we've mentioned in this article have lots of icons, so you will surely find something that suits your taste. Once you've settled for a nice icon and a cool name, it's time to get to work.
Step 2. Create an autorun.inf file on the root of the removable drive
Autorun.inf is a text file used by the AutoRun and AutoPlay components of Windows o perating systems. This simple file describes the AutoRun behavior of the drive on which it's found. In order to work, autorun.inf must be located in the root directory of the drive.
Let's start by creating a new text file. For now, you can create it anywhere on your computer, as we will move it on the memory stick later. I, for instance, created the text file on my Desktop , and so can you .
Then, rename the text file to autorun.inf and confirm that you are OK to change its file name extension. Note that if you don't already have Windows/File Explorer set to display file extensions, you must enable this option before renaming the text file. If you don't know how to do that, this tutorial will help: How to use the View tab in File Explorer.
You will notice that, once renamed, the icon of the file changes.
Now, copy the autorun.inf and the icon file t o the removable drive. Make sure that the autorun.inf file is placed in the root of the removable drive. While we recommend that you place the icon file in the root of the removable drive also, you should know that you can place it in any folder you want to, as long as it's on that drive.
Then, it is time to edit the autorun.inf file.
Open autorun.inf in your favorite text editor and e nter the following lines:
Label=the new name of the drive
If you have placed the icon in a special folder, you must specify the location to the icon, relative to the root of the drive. For instance, I placed my icon in a folder named Mario. In my case, the icon text line looks like this: Icon=Mario\Super Paper Mario.ico
Last but not least, you might want to set the properties of the icon file and autorun.inf so that they are hidden and not displayed when you open the contents of the drive.
This way, you make sure that they will never be deleted by accident, and that your removable drive will keep on looking gorgeous. :)
The next time you plug the removable drive in a Windows computer, it will bear the new name you chose and it will use the new and cool icon you set for it.
I discovered this fun dilemma while browsing the new discussions on the Super User community. You can find the discussion about this geeky trick here: How do you customize the icon on a USB stick?. The awesome part about the procedure above is that it works on all types of removable media. You can use the same steps on USB memory sticks, external hard disk drives or even CDs/DVDs or Blu-ray discs you create.