How to Add Shortcuts for Opening USB Drives to Windows 10

Many users use USB flash drives and external hard drives with Windows PCs for additional file and software storage. Usually, to access such drives, users manually open Explorer and then select them from there. However, you can create more direct ways to open USB storage devices in Windows 10 by setting up shortcuts for them. Here we look at how to create desktop, taskbar, and keyboard shortcuts to open USB drives in Windows 10.

How to add USB drive shortcuts to desktop

It’s easy to add shortcuts that open USB drives on the desktop. However, the context menu of the USB storage device explorer does not contain one Send to submenu. Still, you can create desktop shortcuts for USB drives using this drag-and-drop method:

  1. First, connect your USB drive to your PC.
  2. Press the window + button E to bring up File Explorer’s folder navigator.
  3. click restore below at the top right of Explorer when the window is maximized
  4. Left-click and hold your USB storage device in Explorer’s sidebar.
  5. Drag the USB drive onto the desktop area until you see a Create link in desktop quick info.
  6. Release the left mouse button to add a USB drive shortcut to the desktop.

You can now double-click the USB drive shortcut on the desktop to access the storage device in File Explorer. This shortcut has its default drive icon. However, you can change the icon as described in our guide on how to customize icons in Windows 11/10.

You can also pin this USB drive desktop shortcut to the Start menu. Right-click the shortcut and select it On Home. Then you will see a drive shortcut tile in the Windows 10 Start menu.

How to add USB drive shortcuts to the taskbar

You can also add a USB drive shortcut to the Windows 10 taskbar, but not in the usual way. That Pin it to the taskbar The context menu option is not available for non-software shortcuts. However, you can still add a USB drive to the taskbar by creating an .exe file on the desktop as follows:

  1. Open File Explorer and click on it outlook Tab.
  2. Make sure, that Filename Extensions Checkbox is checked.
  3. Right-click anywhere within your desktop wallpaper to select it New and text document.
  4. Right-click the text file on the desktop and select it Rename.
  5. Delete the current name and then enter Drive Shortcut.exe.
  6. click Yes in the Rename dialog box.
  7. Right-click on Drive Shortcut.exe and select it Pin it to the taskbar Possibility.

You should now have an icon in the system tray. Now we have to give it a job:

  1. Then right-click Drive Shortcut.exe on the taskbar.
  2. Right-click the drive shortcut in the jump list to select it Characteristics.
  3. Delete what’s in that target field, then enter X:\ in which target Crate. replace that X with the actual letter of your drive.
  4. Repeat the previous two steps for the starts in Crate.
  5. Choose Apply to save the new shortcut settings.
  6. click OK to leave shortcut Tab.
  7. Now click on your drive’s taskbar shortcut. It opens the drive specified for it in the target and starts in boxing

The drive doesn’t have an icon, but you can add one. Go back to shortcut Taskbar shortcut tab as described in steps eight and nine above. Then click the Change icon Button. Here are some suitable drive icons:


You can delete the EXE shortcut added to the desktop. Click this shortcut once to select it. Then press the Del button to move it to the trash.

How to create a hotkey for a USB drive

A hotkey to open a USB drive is another type of shortcut you can set up in Windows. To do this, first create a desktop shortcut for the USD drive. Then follow these steps to assign a hotkey to that shortcut:

  1. Right-click the USB drive’s desktop shortcut and select Characteristics.
  2. Then select the shortcut Key field with the cursor.
  3. Press a letter to set up a ctrl + Old keyboard shortcut. For example, pressing the D key assigns a ctrl + Old + D hotkey.
  4. click Apply to save the new hotkey of your USB drive.
  5. Press OK to close the Shortcut tab window.

You can now open the USB drive by pressing whatever ctrl + Old Hotkey you added to its desktop shortcut. The drive’s desktop shortcut must remain in place for the assigned hotkey to work. Deleting this shortcut also deletes the assigned hotkey.

Desktop Media is third-party software that automatically creates desktop shortcuts for USB drives. The shortcuts created are only visible when external drives are connected to your PC. You can also set up shortcuts for CD-ROM, network and RAM drives with this software. To add a USB drive shortcut using Desktop Media:

  1. First, open this desktop media page on Softpedia.
  2. press the Download now and Secure Download (US) Options in Softpedia.
  3. Unzip the file and double click on it desktop-media-setup-1.7.exe to open the Setup Desktop Media window.
  4. Keep clicking Next to reach the magician To install Possibility.
  5. Select Desktop Media To install Possibility.
  6. Run the Desktop Media software after you complete the setup wizard.
  7. Right click on the desktop media icon in the taskbar and select options.
  8. Make sure you have them Removable and Firmly Options selected in the window below. Alternatively, you can select all drive types check box.
  9. Then plug a USB drive into a slot on your PC to create a shortcut.
  10. Choose OK in the “Options – Drive Media” window.

Now you will see a shortcut for the connected USB drive on the desktop. Clicking this shortcut will open the USB drive in Explorer. This shortcut disappears when you remove the drive.

Desktop Media must be running in the background for drive mappings to be visible. So it’s probably better to let the software start automatically so you don’t have to run it manually. You can choose one Start with Windows Option in Desktop Media setup wizard to add it to startup. Alternatively, add the program to the autostart folder at this point:


Get direct access to your USB drives

By setting up shortcuts for your USB drives, you can access them right from your desktop or taskbar in Windows 10. Or you can place USB drives at your fingertips with hotkeys. Add the type of USB drive association you prefer.

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