Whenever I plug in a USB flash drive, Windows 10 insists on creating the folder "System Volume Information." I really don't need this for a USB flash drive, especially if I'm planning on using this in my car's sound system, which is organized by artist as each folder's name. If I Google the title of this question, I get several hits, most of which are nearly identical to the one on The Windows Club. In Windows 10 AU this doesn't work, as another step is necessary, though it's my understanding it does in Windows 7 / 8 / 8.1. I'm unable to verify first hand.
I really wanted to get this solution in one place so that anyone else looking for it can find it.
From The Windows Club:
Using GPEDIT to modify Do not allow locations on removable drives to be added to libraries setting:
If you cannot change this setting via gpedit.msc, then you'll need to make the change in the registry. If you are not comfortable doing so, please do not attempt. Open regedit from Run. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows. Locate the key DisableRemovableDriveIndexing. If it does not exit, create it by right clicking the right pane, select New > Key and make the key a DWORD Value. Double click on the key (or right click and select Modify) and change the value to 1 and select Ok.
For Windows 10 this additional step is necessary. Go back to Run, type services.msc, click OK. In the right pane scroll down to Windows Search, double click it and in Startup type: select Disabled. Click OK and then close. Just to be safe reboot.
I have done the above and now whenever I insert a USB flash drive, Windows does not create a "System Volume Information" folder. However, it does create this folder for USB hard drives, which is exactly what I wanted. As far as I can tell Windows search still works, but I do not know how this setting affects Cortana, as I do not use it (don't even have a microphone). I tried to find the website where I originally found the second part of this but can't seem to. It doesn't come up again on a Google search.
It's been my experience with Windows that what works on one person's machine may not on another's. Putting your machine back the way it was should not be difficult. And there's always the possibility that you may have a Local Policy setting that prevents these changes.
This solution does work in Creators Update. The problem I experienced was due to the loss of my c:\users > d:\users junction that I lost during the Creators Update installation. Once I reestablished it, Windows stopped creating the "System Volume Information" folder upon inserting a USB flash drive. Sorry for the confusion.
Bill Oertell's solution is missing one crucial step; at least this step is necessary with the latest version of Windows 10. I'm adding that step here, so that there is a permanent record of the full solution.
You should do everything he advises, but in addition, while you are in services.msc disabling "Windows Search" you also need to disable "Storage Service", by using the exact same sequence of steps.
Don't worry, despite its name it isn't a necessary service. At least I've not experienced any ill effects for disabling it.
To verify that this is the culprit, you can do the following. Leave the service running, then start Sysinternals' Process Monitor utility. When the "Filters" dialog opens, add a filter with the following settings:
"Path" "Contains" "system volume information"
After you click OK, the main window shows. Pull down the "Filter" menu, and ensure "Drop Filtered Events" is checked.
Then insert a USB flash drive.
You should see some lines appearing in the main window. You'll see the path referring to S.V.I. on the USB drive. The ones you care about have a Process Name of svchost.exe.
Note down the PID from the next column, and then start Sysinternals Process Explorer tool. Click on the PID column to sort by ascending PID, and then scroll down to find the entry with the value you noted just above.
Hover over the name of the process and you'll see the service(s) run by this process. It should show "Storage Service."
You have just found your smoking gun.
Although the following is not a clean solution, it could be a workaround in some cases.
In my case I didn't want anything to be written on the drive. The creation of the folder System Volume Information was causing me issues.
Because none of the solutions seemed to work for Windows 10 v1703, what I did and seems to be working is this:
- Delete contents of System Volume Information folder
- Delete the folder itself
- Create a new file with name System Volume Information
For #1 and #2 I used the command in elevated command prompt:
del /S /Q "Q:\System Volume Information" && rmdir "Q:\System Volume Information"
For #3 I used the command
fsutil file createnew "Q:\System Volume Information" 0
You need to replace Q: with your drive letter.
Since we can't have a folder and a file with the same name, the System Volume Information folder can't be created.
Note: My drive is FAT formatted. For NTFS formatted drives, I guess we need to first take ownership of the folder before deleting it.
I had this problem on Windows 7. In my case the folder appeared only on one USB stick, so I was convinced the problem wasn't about indexing or restoration being configured wrongly for removable devices. I didn't attempt to perform the configuration changes suggested in other answers.
The problem was fixed by deleting the folder. Of course the folder is protected (read only, system attribute and hidden), so the attributes need to be reset first.
cmd.exe with administrator rights (instructions).
Set the default volume to your USB drive (e: in my case). This removes the need to type full paths:
Reset attributes on folder and content using attrib:
E:>attrib -h -s -r "System Volume Information" /S /D
(after this command the folder must be visible.)
E:>rd "System Volume Information"
Unplug the USB stick (after using "eject" if necessary). Now if you plug it again the folder won't reappear (unless removable media have been configured as indexed. In that case the other answers can be used).
I believe I may have just solved 2 problems, which is that in many cases you need Windows Search running (so you can use the Windows Media Player Service) and also want to keep S.V.I. folders off removable drives:
I'm a bit shocked I figured it out as fast as I did but involves 2 more GPEDIT settings in the same Search section as the first one. Please verify independently if you can.
Added a day later...this is still working for me today.