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I have over 8 GB in my "Code Library" that I maintain on a 64 GB ScanDisk Ultra Backup USB Device.

Windows Search 4.0 (installed on Windows XP) can index removable drives, but Windows 7 (which uses Windows Search 4.0) cannot, because the USB device identifies itself as a Removable drive and Windows 7 refuses to index removable drives.

How can I mount the USB Thumb Drive as Fixed instead of Removable?

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migrated from Feb 21 '11 at 21:15

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

Try: Right Click on "My Computer" -> Manage -> Device Manager -> Right Click on the Device -> Properties -> There is probably an option for this. I have no Windows installed. Sorry. – Darokthar Feb 21 '11 at 21:23
@Darokthar: Tried. Could not find anything to change the type from "removable" to "fixed". – AMissico Feb 21 '11 at 21:30
Related (not a duplicate):… – Bobby Mar 12 '11 at 17:17
I would suggest super glue! – MoonSire Nov 13 '13 at 7:13

Here's how you can get Windows Search to index a "removable" drive in 7:

  1. Create a new folder on one of your hard drives. (i.e.: "C:\Code")
  2. Go into the Disk Management, right-click the removable drive and pick "Change Drive Letter and Paths".
  3. Click [Add] and select "Mount in the following empty NTFS folder".
  4. Choose the folder you made earlier ("C:\Code").
  5. Now if you go to C:\Code it should actually be the USB drive.
  6. Via Explorer, add a new Library and add the C:\Code folder to it.

The indexing should now index that for you.

If you want to index inside the files you'll have to go enable that (for that folder) in the Windows "Indexing Options".

You can probably use the Indexing Options to avoid making a Library.

Note: While you are playing with the Indexing Options, don't be surprised by long pauses if you already have a large Windows Search index.

Your mileage may vary once you start unplugging and plugging the drive. :)

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I tried this last week and it did not work. Have you verified this works? – AMissico Feb 22 '11 at 1:14
Please do not change the question. This answer should be attached to "How to Modify Windows 7 Search to Index Removable Drives" at <…; – AMissico Feb 22 '11 at 1:22
As I posted this I re-did it with freshly made text files, folders and a freshly formatted USB flash drive to ensure that it worked the same as the last time I did it. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Feb 22 '11 at 3:01
I could not get this to work. – AMissico Mar 12 '11 at 17:33

There is a program called Lexar BootIt that can flip the removable bit that makes it removable or not. It worked on my Corsair Voyager GT which had mistakenly been made "Fixed" which was annoying.

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Already tried and it does not work with the ScanDisk Ultra Backup. – AMissico Mar 12 '11 at 17:50

Basicly How to Remove Windows Indexing Service for USB Drives. But inverted, as you want to activate it. That should work, I think.


Ups, I think I'm wrong. In WDS - Search across Removable media (CD,DVD, USB Drives etc)? someone (I guess he is from MS) states it is not possible:

There are two types of removable drives "Fixed" and "Removable". Most external USB hard drives report themselves as "fixed". Some USB thumbdrives report themselves as "Fixed" and some report themselves as "Removable". We don't index the "Removable" ones.

If your drive is in the Fixed category, then you just need to go to Control Panel -> Indexing Options -> Modify to add the new drive location. You may also want to assign it a fixed letter in the latter half of the alphabet so that it will always get mounted as the same letter (e.g. Q:)

Another elegant way to do it would be (if you're using Win7 with Libraries) to add the folder locations you care about to the relevant libraries (or even create an extra library.) That will cause the contents to be indexed.

Hope this helps, Andrei

Maybe there is some third-party software enabling this?


Following the content of Windows Search returns no results after indexing external hard drive might do the trick.

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All the article mentions is to turn off the "indexing" attribute for the drive, which disables indexing. Event if this "indexing" attribute is turned on, Windows 7 will still not index the removable drive. – AMissico Feb 21 '11 at 21:49
@AMissico You have not written, that indexing is activated. Therefore i thought it might have been disabled. Read the link at the bottom of my answer. Maybe that helps. – Darokthar Feb 21 '11 at 22:05
I found the same reference on, which is why I am looking for mounting the removable drive as a fixed drive. – AMissico Feb 21 '11 at 22:20
>>Maybe there is some 3rd party software enabling this?<< So far, I haven't found any. – AMissico Feb 21 '11 at 22:21
The first edit is correct - the fixed/removable stuff is a flag ON THE DRIVE ITSELF. You can't directly alter it except with a few drives that you can flash the firmware on. The workarounds are good though. – Shinrai Feb 21 '11 at 23:06

This is a long shot, but open up devmgmt.msc, go to Disk Drives, select your external drive, and change Removal Policy to "Better Performance." There's a small chance that option may be what the indexing service is checking to determine whether or not to store indices on the disk.

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