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I got an strange icon overlay on my USB stick drive:

The strange icon

In my previous question I could identify it's EhStorShell.dll drawing that overlay there (Thanks!). The dll has the description Windows Enhanced Storage Shell Extension DLL.

So what is it? and how to turn this enhanced storing thing off (I don't mind) to get the normal non-overlayed icon?

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  • have you tried doing a full reformat of the USB drive? Jun 16, 2012 at 11:45
  • To be honest, I think you might do better to just buy another USB stick instead of trying to get around this.. I feel that this would be very difficult to get around as it's built into Windows since Vista. See here Jun 16, 2012 at 11:58

2 Answers 2

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According to Microsoft:

An Enhanced Storage device can be an external USB hard drive or a USB flash drive. When you purchase a USB hard drive or flash drive, the packaging might indicate that it's an Enhanced Storage device.

Microsoft have created a technology that helps protect user data on portable storage devices that allows for additional security.

In their own words:

Enhanced Storage devices have built-in safety features that let you control who can access the data on the device by using a password or a certificate (if the device is being used in a workplace). Once someone has access to the device, they have access to the data because the data on the device is not encrypted.

However, in regards to encryption, Microsoft states:

Some device manufacturers might offer encryption on Enhanced Storage devices. Check the device packaging or documentation to see if the device includes encryption.

Source (now archived): What is Enhanced Storage?

(I will investigate how to turn Enhanced Storage off, but I have a feeling you won't be able to because it is implemented on the external device itself... I will report back with a more definitive answer though.)

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It sounds like what you really want is "to get the non-overlayed icon", rather than to turn off enhanced storage. Try (exporting and then) deleting the registry key at

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\ShellIconOverlayIdentifiers\EnhancedStorageShell

Any new Windows Explorer windows from then on will not load the overlay. (Existing Explorer windows will have already loaded it and will continue to show it.)

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