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On my custom-built computer, there is a chip-reader that will accept about 8 kinds of chips - you know, the ones you use in cameras. These all count as "drives" on my computer, and in the Drive Manager of the MMC console, (or you can get to it by right-clicking on "Computer" and selecting "Manage") I can set the drive letters for these devices.

However, when I plug in another flash drive, I get confused as to which drive it is - with all those other ones complicating the matter.

How can I rename my empty chip-reader drives? I've tried opening their "properties" in Windows Explorer - which lets me specify a name, but it won't accept anything I tell it (never had this issue in XP). When I click "Apply" in the properties dialogue, it says,

The volume label is not valid. Please enter a valid volume label.

But nothing I type there seems to be "valid".

So, I want to call the drives by their chip names, such as "xd drive", "sd drive", "M2 drive", etc. That way I can tell which one is which.

share|improve this question
They're cards, not chips. – allquixotic Jan 11 '13 at 20:14
You say tomato, I say tomatoe. Chips, cards, however you like. – bgmCoder Jan 11 '13 at 20:16
Calling these memory devices "chips" is like calling baked products (such as bread and cookies) "flour". Do you eat "flour" with your milk? Do you use wheat or white "flour" for your sandwich? – sawdust Jan 11 '13 at 21:42
I concede. It's not supposed to be a point of argument, and is outside the scope of my question. – bgmCoder Jan 11 '13 at 21:47
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Ah, I figured it out.

I opened computer in Windows Explorer and simply clicked, "rename".

It worked like a charm. It works with OR without a space, however you like. Pushing good ole' F2 works too.

I feel kind of stupid for asking the question, now, but if it worked via properties like you'd think, there would have been no question.

You can't rename it through properties, for some reason!

enter image description here

You may have to enable the setting in Windows Explorer.

share|improve this answer
Hah. And here I had tons of alternate solutions. You should mark your own answer as correct, so people don't keep looking. – Ariane Jan 11 '13 at 20:33
I know! I have to wait two days! The site won't let me mark it right now. Thanks for your attention! – bgmCoder Jan 11 '13 at 20:34

The reason you get "The volume label is not valid. Please enter a valid volume label." is that volume labels can only be set on drives with actual media in them.

Volume label refers to a very specific piece of information which is stored in the partition table of a disk drive. Since a card reader with no card in it has no partition table, since a partition table requires an actual storage device, you are not able to set a volume label on a non-existing device.

In Windows, there are two types of disk drives: Fixed media and Removable media.

A fixed medium is one that is always available, and cannot be removed. A fixed medium "assumes" that there is always a valid storage medium associated with the drive letter. So if the medium is online and receiving power, it will appear as a drive letter, and have a valid volume label, valid partition table, list of partitions, and the data can be read and written.

A removable medium is one that "decouples" (separates) the concept of "Slot where a disk/card can go" and "Actual disk/card". Removable media do have drive letters even when no "Actual disk/card" is installed in the slot at the moment. The slot has a "media-less" drive letter associated with it, which gives you a familiar error message like "There is no disk in the drive..." if you try to access it while it is not available.

Since your card readers are removable media, you will have drive letters (unless you disable the hardware in Device Manager) for slots that have no media installed.

You also can't assign drive letters like "M2:" or "SD:" because of Windows' limitation on what drive letters can be (just A: through Z:). So you're pretty much stuck with just memorizing the drive letters. Suboptimal, but that's the way it is.

If you're lucky, you might be able to find an enhanced Explorer-like file browser that will list the device name next to each drive letter, but even that doesn't really help: most manufacturers don't give meaningful names to each of the possible slots, or if they do, it's something long and complicated like "Hitachi 800SD-25F SD Card Reader" (made up name but it's similarly long). This information comes from the USB protocol used to communicate with the card reader, and cannot be changed because it is part of the card reader's firmware.

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I beg to differ on the point about volume labels only showing on devices with removeable media in them. See my screenshot in my answer - these drives are named and show and there is no media in any of them. No advanced explorer program necessary. – bgmCoder Mar 13 '14 at 1:27

You cannot rename an "empty" drive because the name is actually stored in the partition/filesystem. Windows is being confusing with its error messages here. If you want, you can change the Windows preference to not show the drives when they are empty, or rename the individual devices when they are inserted into the reader.

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Probably, the space character is not allowed, or something.

Try something that will obviously be accepted, like "ABC".

Or perhaps the error message is wrong and you don't have the right to change the name - in which case, try the administrator account, safe mode or even the built-in elevated administrator account.

Perhaps you can't change the drive's name, only cards that you put in it. I think this is likely, because I think I remember something similar happening to me.

Alternatively, if I were you, instead of doing this, I'd go to folder options in the control panel and check "hide empty drives", or however it's called. You can't get confused if there's only one drive displayed.

You can also, through the popup that shows up when you put it in, ask Windows to always open an Explorer window for it when you put it in.

share|improve this answer
It's already set to hide empty drives, but they show anyway. – bgmCoder Jan 11 '13 at 20:21
I've tried naming without spaces, too. No cigar there. – bgmCoder Jan 11 '13 at 20:21
@BGM What if you renamed your cards? Then probably, the drive will be renamed to the card's name when you put it in. – Ariane Jan 11 '13 at 20:23
@BGM Ooooh. When I go to my DVD drive's properties, it looks like I can change its icon. Perhaps that would help you differentiate them. :D – Ariane Jan 11 '13 at 20:26
I found one more alternate solution: Make a folder somewhere (e.g. "C:\Card readers"), and there, put a shortcut to each drive. Shortcuts won't have the slightest problem being renamed. Then you can just access the drives from there. If you want to access the right-click options of the drives directly (like, right-click, eject, or right-click, format), it can probably be done using symbolic links. Make one for each drive. Then it'll tell your computer that whenever you click C:\Card readers\SD Card Reader (J:), it's as if you clicked "Removable Drive (J:)". @BGM – Ariane Jan 11 '13 at 20:33

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