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How to change the DISPLAY name of a Drive (NOT the drive letter)

Last response: in Windows XP
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May 28, 2013 9:33:03 AM

None of the solutions I have found here and on other sites works for me. I have a shelf full of USB drives. Each is used for a different purpose. To see a meaningful name in Windows 7 Explorer would help me to be certain that I have the correct drive mounted for the current task.

I can easily rename the drive using the context menu displayed with a right mouse button click on the drive. The new name then appears when I open the properties for the drive, but the new name does not appear in the list of drives in Explorer. Instead, the original drive name continues to appear.

I need to change the name that displays.

Thanks in advance.
May 28, 2013 9:38:37 AM

Rightclick on the drive, then select Properties
Change the name there under the General tab.
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May 28, 2013 11:01:37 AM

USAFRet said:
Rightclick on the drive, then select Properties
Change the name there under the General tab.


Thanks for your response. I mention in my question that changing the name using the rename function of the popup menu also changes the name in the properties list. So I cannot change it the way you suggest since it already shows the new name. However, it does not show the new name in the list of drives when you click on Computer in the Windows 7 Explorer.

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May 28, 2013 11:47:02 AM

You can change it in the Properties of the drive in Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Computer Management>Disk management - it flashes up in blue just waiting to be overwritten.

EDIT - hadn't realised there was Windows 7 involvement here but the settings should be the same - along with most other things behind the GUI. :D 

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May 28, 2013 5:30:12 PM

10874967,0,360357 said:
[#0005ff]You can change it in the Properties of the drive in Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Computer Management>Disk management - it flashes up in blue just waiting to be overwritten.

I appreciate your attempt. The new name already shows up in the Disk Manager, but the old name still shows up in Windows 7 Explorer.

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May 28, 2013 5:53:56 PM

Well...I just did it as per my instructions above. Rightclick/Properties/General tab...

Changed it on a Win8 Pro box, moved it to a Win 7 box...the name still held
Rebooted the Win 7 box, the name still held
Moved it back over to the Win 8 Pro box....still held
Moved it back to the Win 7 box, changed the name to something else.
Unplugged and replugged - new name still visible
Moved it back to the Win 8 box - still the new name


It appears to work for me.
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May 28, 2013 7:42:28 PM

10876731,0,1282023 said:
Well...I just did it as per my instructions above. Rightclick/Properties/General tab...

Thanks, USAFRet. It sounds as though Win8 wrote the name to the drive, then Windows 7 read it. It seems that there are two names for each drive since the name that Win7 Explorer shows is different from the one the properties dialog and the Disk Mngr display. When I edit the name using the right mouse button Rename in Explorer, the new name shows so long as the textbox retains focus. When I take the focus elsewhere, the name immediately reverts to the original. However, the new name is retained somewhere because it shows in properties and Disk Mngr. The funny thing is, I've changed the names of drives many times over the years without having a problem like this. I'm not a novice. I've been a systems programmer in Windows, UNIX and a list of other OS's for over 40 years. I know what I'm doing ... only apparently I don't in this case. There is a solution and it will show up.
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May 28, 2013 11:07:28 PM

It could be worth searching the Registry for the old name and replace every entry with the new one but back the Registry up first - your system seems determined to allow its drive to keep its old name.
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May 29, 2013 6:21:02 AM

Sage Lout: I have considered going the Registry route, but I think I'll hold off awhile in the hope that a solution will appear in this thread. I'm reluctant to change the name in the Registry because this often leads down a rabbit hole. Someone, somewhere has had this experience and resolved it. It took me a long time to find the solution to why one of my brand new USB drives would not mount, but I finally found the solution on some website ... conflicting Drive ID's. I forget what they are called, but they are set at the factory. There should never be two with the same number, but there was.
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May 29, 2013 11:12:56 AM

Is there more than one User Account? I can see why the system might be reluctant to make a change on behalf of one user when others file paths could be affected. That reluctance could extend to users in the Network. If either is a possibility here, try running under the system Administrator account in Safe Mode.
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May 29, 2013 12:02:14 PM

Good idea, Saga Lout. However, this is a home machine with only one account, which is the admin account.
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May 29, 2013 1:06:22 PM

I don't think it is a multiple user account issue, either. This usb drive I've been testing with holds that property, booting into a different Windows 7 account that has never, ever seen this particular drive before.

Even putting it in a whole different PC...the new name still shows.

The 'name' value is held on the drive.
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May 29, 2013 2:26:04 PM

The problem is resolved. I do not know how. The drives have suddenly started showing up by their new names in Explorer. I thought it might help to boot the machine, so I did so yesterday a couple of times. It did not help. I have not booted since yesterday, yet now the names are here. There must be a background process that updates the Registry on some sort of schedule. That's all I can think of. Thanks for your efforts on this. Sorry the resolution isn't more satisfying. I will further conjecture that when you mounted your drives from the Win8 machine, it was the first time your Win7 system had seen them ... so it added them to the registry on the spot. This is all conjecture. I don't actually know what happens.
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May 29, 2013 10:50:14 PM

Still a bit of a mystery then, despite being fixed which is the main thing. I've often noticed some Registry changes need two restarts to make them stick - maybe this is one such occasion.
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May 30, 2013 11:39:29 AM

It was too good to last. Today the drive names have reverted back to the originals. Note that these are 2 new 3TB USB 3.0 drives from Toshiba. On top of that, there was a phantom drive entry showing in Explorer. It was one of the new drives with the new name mounted with its own drive letter and inaccessible (not surprising). I did the thing of last resort and booted. After the boot, the phantom drive entry was no longer there and the two new drives were listed showing their original names. I ran checkdisk on every drive on my system as well as the System File Checker utility. No problems were found. I use this machine pretty much continuously and it has demonstrated no other strange behavior. Just a note: this is Win7 64-bit on an Intel i5 processor SP1 with all updates installed.

Maybe someone went to sleep and dreamed a solution? Oh. One other note. I mounted an older Western Digital MyBook USB 2.0 this morning and decided to try changing its name. The name took immediately. No now-you-see-it-now-you-don't. Very confusing. Why can I rename the MyBook with no problem, but not the Toshibas?
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Best solution

May 31, 2013 4:32:18 PM

SOLVED: I have found the solution on SevenForums. There is a hidden autorun.inf file on each of the Toshiba drives that sets the drive name each time it is run. Here's how I fixed it:
1. Connect the drive in question
2. Open a command window running as Administrator
3. Change directory to letter of drive in question (I: in my case)
4. Execute the following command to make the autorun file visible: attrib -r -s -h autorun.inf
5. Save a copy of the file in case you need it in the future - in case you are using the backup software provided on the drive
6. Open autorun.inf in notepad.exe
7. Edit the file to contain only the following 2 lines:
[autorun]
label="new drive name"
8. Dismount and remount the USB drive
Note that in my case I am leaving this additional line that identifies the icon to be used for this drive:
icon=autorun\canvio3.ico

Thanks to everyone for helping me to think.
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May 31, 2013 4:49:14 PM

ahhh...specific to that particular drive!
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May 31, 2013 10:34:43 PM

Hmm - cunning those Japanese folks. I wonder what the purpose of bothering to put that .inf file in really is.

Well researched, jimofmex and deserving of the Best Answer in your own thread - a true rarity!
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