Desk Drive automatically creates – and removes – shortcuts on your desktop for external media (USB/flash drives, external hard drives, etc.)

While I personally have depreciated the use of my desktop, some people are desktop fiends: All important files, folders, and shortcuts should be accessible directly from the desktop. If you are one of these desktop fiends, then Desk Drive may be for you.

Image Credit: Ody5iu5

What Is Desk Drive?

Desk Drive is a program that aims to do one thing: Automatically create desktop shortcuts to plugged-in external media (USB/flash drives, external hard drives, etc.) and automatically remove the shortcuts when the external media is removed.

Using Desk Drive

Using Desk Drive is as easy as installing it, turning it on, and plugging in an external drive. When an external drive, such as a USB/flash drive, is plugged in Desk Drive creates a shortcut on your desktop to it:

When you remove the external drive, Desk Drive removes the desktop shortcut:

Desk Drive is not limited to creating shortcuts for just one external drive at a time; you can plug in as many external drives as you want and Desk Drive will create a shortcut for each one.

Desk Drive Settings

The following are the settings available for Desk Drive (right-click on Desk Drive’s system tray icon – > Settings):

The above screenshot shows the default settings Desk Drive installs with. As you can see by default Desk Drive is set to create – and remove – shortcuts for external/removable drives (hard drives, USB/flash drives, etc.) and disc drives; however users can make Desk Drive create/remove shortcuts for other types of drives, too.

Furthermore, there are other settings users can enable/disable:

  • Hiding Desk Drive’s system tray icon
  • Making Desk Drive run automatically at Windows boot
  • Minimizing all windows when an external drive is plugged in
  • Shows a “positional effect” when a shortcut is created
  • Saving icon positions (i.e. after Desk Drive creates a shortcut, you can move it around on your desktop and Desk Drive will remember the position of that shortcut next time the drive is plugged in)
  • Automatically opening drives in Windows Explorer once they are plugged in

The “positional effect” is a simple circle that echoes around the created shortcut, making it easier for users to locate it visually:

The effect is temporary and goes away after 1-2 seconds.

Desk Drive Performance

While sitting idle in the system tray, Desk Drive uses little to no CPU and less than 1 MB of RAM. If users open up the Settings window, RAM usage jumps to about 3 MB but falls back to less than 1 MB after the window is closed. When creating a new shortcut

  • If the “positional effect” is enabled, Desk Drive uses about 5 MB of RAM and 5-10% CPU for the 1-2 seconds the positional effect appears; after the effect goes away Desk Drive goes back to using less than 1 MB of RAM and little to no CPU.
  • If the “positional effect” is not enabled, Desk Drive barely uses any extra computer resources to create shortcuts, about 1% CPU and still uses less than 1 MB of RAM.

While removing shortcuts Desk Drive is one again very light on your computer, using almost negligible CPU and still less than 1 MB of RAM.

That said, however, two things must be noted:

  • Desk Drive requires .NET Framework 2.0 or higher. So while Desk Drive itself may not use a lot of RAM, there is still some overhead associated with using .NET Framework.
  • During my tests Desk Drive crashed on me once, giving me the following error:

The crash only happened once and restarting Desk Drive was no problem after I hit Quit. In defense of Desk Drive, I was being very anal and repeatedly plugging in/removing my flash drive to see how Desk Drive would react.

One thing to note

Take note that after installing Desk Drive, the developer’s website is opened asking for donations. I am not bashing on the developer for asking for donations; everyone deserves reward for their hard work. However, I thought I should mention it because some people may dislike this fact.

Conclusion and Download Links

Desk Drive is a must for anyone that depends heavily on their desktop and makes use of external drives a lot. You can grab Desk Drive from the following links:

Version reviewed: v1.8.2

Download size: 688 KB

Supported OS: Windows XP/Vista/Win7

Malware scan: 0/43 VirusTotal results

Desk Drive homepage

[Direct download – 32-bit version]

[Direct download – 64-bit version]

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  • Jim Carter

    I’m currently using a similar program called Desktop Media under XP SP3. My system is dual boot with Win 7, 64 bit. I noted the mention of Win 7 here, but the developer’s web site doesn’t mention it. Are we good to go on 7? Thanks!

  • Roland

    Very nice one. I have autorun off with Panda USB Vaccine, so this app will come in handy.

  • Harlan

    I’ve used this for several years and I find it convenient for dealing with both USB drives and networked drives that I mount and unmount in groups. It’s a small convenience, but still a convenience.

    I have seen the same error message as Ashraf many times, and often when I’m not doing anything special. It seems to be more likely to appear when I move on to another task before the icons have disappeared. There doesn’t seem to be any significant effect. I’ve also had it crash completely, leaving the icons behind and making me delete them manually. Again, no other effect on the system, so not too important. Since I’ve kept it for a long time, obviously I think it’s worthwhile.

  • Casey

    @IndoMK: Beat me to it! :)

  • IndoMK

    Shorcut creation like that is an Ubuntu feature as well. :) Although I didn’t like it enough to miss it when I’m using Windows… but it’s cool that there’s a program that provides it! I might use it at some point in time…

  • Hmm, don’t really se the magic of this software. Autorun works fine for me, don’t need a shortcut on my desktop for that.

  • Student26

    yes i agree this is a very mac like feature and it seems to perform its function well so ill give it a go .

  • flommedrengen

    The Ctrl+A keyboard shortcut selects all files in an explorer window

  • blue

    This very Mac-like feature has been missing from Windows for quite some time. Back in the day when I switched from Mac to PC, I recall this as being one of the features I missed most (that and a ‘select-all files’ keyboard shortcut in Explorer).

    Nice feature! Also a nice find by Ashraf. Thanks

  • Corno

    Hmm, I always go to My Computer to access the external drive. Never felt any need to shortcut that. Thanks all the same for drawing our attention to this program.