Use your Windows Phone 7 device as a portable USB drive

Who needs a removable micro-sd card when you can just use your Windows Phone 7 device as a portable USB drive ? Here’s a little trick to enable USB drive mode on your Windows Phone 7 phone. I did some digging into the Windows registry looking for all the references to the Zune software and the devices USB stack  and finally found that the devices actually support this mode but that it is simply disabled by default. So here’s how to do it:

- Open Windows Registry Editor by typing regedit in your start menu
- Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\
- Then go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\USB  (and not the other ControlSet01 or 02 if you have them) and then search for ZuneDriver


and you should see something like this:

I currently have 3 WP7 devices linked to my PC that’s why you see 3 folders under VID_045E&PID_04EC&MI_00. Choose the device you want (you should normally only have one anyway) and edit the following entries:

- Change ShowInShell from 0 to 1 <- this enable Windows Explorer to show the device when pluged in
- Change PortableDeviceNameSpaceExcludeFromShell from 1 to 0
- Change EnableLegacySupport from 0 to 1 <- this enables Windows Explorer to detect the device
- You can also change EnableDefaultAutoPlaySupport but it didn’t seem to do anything.

Once its done just plug-in your device to your PC. The Zune software will automatically launch as usual and your device will also appear in the Windows explorer as seen in the first screenshot above. Now just close the Zune software and you will finally have access to the device’s storage. You now have direct access to all your media content and can even copy/paste stuff in there without the need of the Zune software.

Don’t  forget to:

Update: Just finished looking at the media files on the device and here’s what I found:

- Setting your Photo syncing option to “as original” (so the pictures aren’t resized when copied to the phone), works as it should. This means that the photos on the phone are the exact same copy of the originals on your PC. But what you see in the the device’s photo gallery is a thumb-nailed/resized version of them, automatically created by the phone (or zune software during syncing process) to speed up loading and viewing on the phone. Also, if you decide to send a photo via mail it can only have a maximum resolution of 1630×1084 (this means that the phone is not sending a copy of the original file you synced but a resized version).

-Videos are either .WMV or .MP4 but they are all trans-coded to WMV9 (syncing an .MP4 will result in a WMV9 contained in a .MP4 ). The bitrate will depend on the original file but maximum resolution is 800×600. I already talked about this process a couple of months ago.

  • David

    Neat trick. Any thoughts on getting files outside of what Zune allows? Like Word docs, etc?

  • http://www.mobiletechworld.com MobileTechWorld

    Yeah you can put any type of file in there but the device won’t be able to access it if it isn’t in the right folder and given that we don’t have access to the Office storage pasting a Word doc in the video folder won’t let you access it from the device. But the device can be used as a portable HD for these types of files (not supr neat but that’s a start I guess). But I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft actually added support for Office documents in a future Zune software version anyway. What we have access to here is only the Zune storage part of Windows Phone 7.

  • Anonymous

    This is very impressive. WP7 is definitely moving right along.

  • Phil

    Didn’t work for me on Win7 x64. Interestingly, I didn’t have but 2 items in that registry key and none of the ones you specified. I added them, but it didn’t work.

  • William188

    work with Zune HD too ! Thx !

  • Anonymous

    Worked for me on Win7 x64. You really do have to hook up the phone while Zune is loaded, and then close Zune. It wouldn’t shop up until after I did that.

  • Dlwhite

    I have a ZuneHD and it seemed to work because I can browse the directories on the ZuneHD through explorer, but I could not copy files onto the Zune – “You do not have permission to create this item” error message.

  • Dlwhite

    Oh, and I’m on Windows 7×64

  • kramer

    Thanks, it work for me with Win 7 Ultimate x64 with an old Zune 8gig mp3 player …

  • Rgraines

    Thanks! It works great with one exception, I see two “HTC T8788″ in explorer.

  • Lonbordin

    Yeah… my Focus is moving right back to AT&T. I need a device that’s not in Beta and can last a full day.

  • http://www.mobiletechworld.com MobileTechWorld

    I don’t have a ZuneHD so I can’t really test it out and see what the problem is. But apparently several people have managed to get it to work with it.

  • http://www.mobiletechworld.com MobileTechWorld

    Yeah same here. Seems like it’s just duplicated. Nothing to worry about I guess.

  • Rowan

    Just had a play around with copying music directly to my HTC mozart. There are a couple of issues. The main issues is when Zune software syncs;
    It copies the the mp3 files to “PHONE:Music .mp3″
    It creates a file in “PHONE:Albums–.alb” (which sees to contain the album art and reference the track names from that album)
    it creates a file in “PHONE:Artists.art” (haven’t found any resources or references in that file, doesn’t mean they are not there just that they aren’t shown in properties)

    If you just copy the music across and ignore the Artist and Album stuff you can still listen to the music but it will all be listed as Unknown Artist, Unknown Album and with no Album Art. If anyone knows a way around this i would be happy to here it.

  • Saspara

    why it is not working on Vista? it shows my HTC trophy but there are no file and i can’t transfter in that folder. any help guys. thanks already.

  • Saspara

    why it is not working on Vista? it shows my HTC trophy but there are no file and i can’t transfter in that folder. any help guys. thanks already.

  • R Dutertre

    Doesn’t work on LG Optimus 7 on Windows Seven x86, it shows 2 LG-900 Multimedia Device, with a storage area, but nothing in it and I can’t create anything inside…

  • Anonymous

    AT&T Focus and Windows XP didn’t work. Shows two SAMSUNG SGH-i917 devices as Portable Media Player, they are empty when openned.

  • Gentleman3780

    Could someone try to store 720p video (h.264) in the video folder? I’d like to know if it can be played back or even is recognized then in the music + videos hub. I’m asking because of watching it via DLNA (e. g. LG Optimus 7) on an HDTV.

  • Anonymous

    Finally it worked! The trick is you need to CLOSE ZUNE after you connected your phone.

  • http://www.best-registrycleaner.net registrycleaner

    work with Zune HD too ! Thx !

  • Jim Burgin

    Same for me with my HTC HD7. Maybe it’s an HTC issue? Both show the same storage so it is definitely a duplicate and not 2 different partitions.

  • Reinaldomsm

    AO fechar o zune se ve Os Dois htc Mas nao encherga nada NEM da parágrafo copiar nada parágrafo massas da dendtro.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MKSV6PZLTWPWEF36BEIQAD7I2I PaulC

    For some reason I can’t expand the storage . I also get 2 copies of a WP7 phone with a storage device below each. Neither will will expand to show a file structure (closed out the Zune software as per an earlier post). I have Windows 7 64 and an HTC ATT phone (the one with the pull out speakers)

  • http://www.mobiletechworld.com MobileTechWorld

    Make sure to close the Zune Software or you won’t be able to expand/access the phone’s file system.

    Cheers

  • Nathan

    Thanks, this works fine on my Zune 80 and a PC running XPSP3.

    What I’d really like to do is sync the Zune using WMP. There was an old, clumsy
    hack to do this that hasn’t worked in a while because of firmware upgrades on the Zune.

    I feel like this is “so close” to having that working, but haven’t come up with the right registry edits.

    Any ideas?

  • MOster

    You also have to be patient. This was my biggest problem.

  • emil

    Previous i followed that and It worked fine for me but today, when I tried to access it agin, although I see my drive there but inside the drive I dont see photos, videos etc folders :( do you know what might be the problem..by the way, additional informaiton, I have reset my settings in fabric settings because of reason.. could it be problem?`what solution i need? i checked registery and settings are still like you explained. thanks

  • http://www.mobiletechworld.com MobileTechWorld

    Make sure that you are closing the Zune Software or the folders won’t show up. If it’s not this, then go into the registry and check if there isn’t new folder created in VID_045E&PID_04EC&MI_00 for your device (it’s possible that it is now detected by Windows as a new device given that you wiped your device clean) so you will have to edit reg entries again.

  • Neep

    I changed all the proper settings but it will not recognize my LG Quantum

  • eegorr

    Worked for me on my HTC Surround, until the first time I connected the phone to a different computer and used the Zune software to copy music to it. Now I can see the device but can’t see anything I put in the storage directory, nor can I add anything new to it. The recommended registry changes are intact, so I’m guessing the Zune software did something to my phone to prevent this folder from being directly accessible.

  • eegorr

    This seems to have fixed my problem and my phone only appears once in the explorer window, as well:
    http://blogs.technet.com/b/juanand/archive/2010/12/10/playing-with-windows-phone-7-as-usb-storage.aspx

  • http://twitter.com/PeteTheDev Pete Sykes

    Doesn’t quite work for me unfortunately :-(

    I get two entries for my phone in Explorer and in each I only see the “Pictures” folder structure under “Storage”.

  • Bugsfw

    It recognized my Quantum – listed twice. Won’t transfer any files; keep getting message that device stopped communicating or connection unplugged.

  • http://www.mobiletechworld.com MobileTechWorld

    Did you make sure to close the Zune software before trying to explore the phone’s folders?

  • konteudos.info

    Did not work for me , it shows my zune in explorer twice but I can not move files in or out ….

  • MARiOWNED

    Just start Zune and close it again. After this it works probably.

  • Davdodson

    When I am in registy Editor I find everything but ShowInShell. Please help

  • A2zforums

    Same for me with Omnia 7 caption Portable Media Player

  • Alan933

    This is good BUT… There’s always a but…I do like the easy idea of using explorer for data files but music has a lot of properties like genere, artist, title, album, year etc.. And when zune sends these to your phone these properties transfer and are grouped on the phone accordingly, I know because I had some showing up with unknown album or uknown artist because I negleted to enter that information in zune. I like things organized and I think if music files are just dragged over they will not be organized on the phone. It might be ok with pictures though.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FFBUDACGCQLYCPHN2IOIPC3LTI al

    Didn’t work on XP. I get the Samsung Focus Folder and a storage icon but nothing shows on the storage.

  • Mustapah7

    Was this method work on win XP sp3?

  • http://profiles.google.com/eduncan911 Eric Duncan

    Worked on HTC Arrive with Win 7 x64.

  • Fakih Ahmad

     i did all the step and i have the icon of the HTC trophy 7 on my computer but nothing in. i dont see any folder and i cannot copy any thing 

  • http://www.mobiletechworld.com MobileTechWorld

     Did you make sure that the Zune application was close? The folders and content won’t show up unless you close the Zune desktop app.

  • Anonymous

    Use the Windows Phone 7 device as a portable USB drive is not an easy thing , I have to study it carefully.

  • 2Cor3 18

    Is there now a way to drag/drop Office files and access them with thie hack?
    Thanks, and be blessed in JESUS.

  • 2Cor3 18

    Is there now a way to drag/drop Office files and access them with this hack?
    Thanks, and be blessed in JESUS.

  • http://twitter.com/Zoomicon George Birbilis

    is there a chance you need to disable UAC for it to work?

  • http://twitter.com/Zoomicon George Birbilis

    is there a chance you need to disable UAC for it to work?

  • Tech_2483

    Is this sort of this possible to do on Windows 6.5 or 6.0?

  • http://www.mobiletechworld.com MobileTechWorld

    Yes there’s no hacking needed for WM6.X device.Just use ActiveSync (Mobile device center on Vista and Win7) to do this. And all of HTC’s WM6.X device have built-in USB mass storage support (the option pops up when you plug the USB cable in the phone.)

  • mine17313

    Works for me. Am using HTC 7 Mozart. 

  • DOR

    After a few shutdownsrestarts it worked. Thanks. I was about to sell my phone untill I found that post

  • Pkinglv

    Leave your phone plugged into the computer through usb and whiLe zune is open turn on and off the power of the phone thet give it a second.

  • Dimitrievski Antonio

    i still cant transfer music pics or videos in to my HTC 7 Trophy! can anyone help me?

  • Dimitrievski Antonio

    Where is zune i found it like in the picture and i have change that stuff and then mu pc found my mobile in my computer other and there was folder where i can not put stuff in… and my pc cant sync with my HTC 7 Trophy

  • Dimitrievski Antonio

    where is zune aplication

  • Ghamai

    wow thank u so very much u are awsome it worked  ……….. thanks again

  • Patrick

    it shows no files on my phone and it shows 2 usb phone devices

  • Patrick

    got it thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/pinkcrab Pinkcrab

    You’re my HERO!!!!  Joined the forum, ready to beta and donate.  Just got the phone last week.  Can’t sync with outlook, no mass usb stroage.  what were they thinking???  thanks again!  look for me on facebook (pinkcrab)

  • Paul

    Excellent! Follow your trick, I can access my Nokia 800. I can copy files to it but I can find the files from the windows phone. Any solution? Help!!!! 

  • Nam Phan

    I’m using Dell Venue Pro (Windows Phone 7), but can’t connect to my laptop with Windows XP. The system asked for the driver of the Dell Venue Pro device. I tried to find this driver, but couldn’t. Any can help?

    Thank you and best regards,

  • Yj95yj

    For those who perform the fix and see the drive as a portable media player in Explorer but cannot access it, CLOSE ZUNE.  Everything should be fine then.

  • Bill Tolar

    Thanks for the limited file manager process, works on my Dell Venue Pro. Guess we’ll have to wait for Windows Phone 8 to get a complete one,

  • Guest

    DONT WORK WITH THE SAMSUNG OMNIA WINDOWS PHONE 7.5, TRY STEP BY STEP AND NO JOY. I DID USE A PROGRAMME AGES AGO TO USE IT AS MASS STORAGE DEVICE AND LOOKING FOR IT AGAIN, WILL POST WHEN I FIND OUT

  • http://virusremovalhelps.com/help-smart-fortress-2012-virus-removal/ Smart Fortress 2012 virus

    I always use my phone as a portable USB drive.

  • Oogoobumstead

    Awesome. Worked well for me. I had added my song files from another laptop and wanted to transfer from my phone to the new laptop. thanks very much.

  • Parkour-JP

     Hey i wanted to use this so i could use it for Stellar Photo Recovery so i could get all my deleted files back, but it wont find it on the application, anyone know of a solution? oh and on explorer it comes up as 2 Partitions and its a Portable Device and under the name of my phone it says Portable Media Player

  • Masonspamtest

    I have two entries in explorer both of which contain what explorer shows as a drive called “Storage” which has nothing inside. Says it is a Generic Hierarchical file sytem. Does show 3/10 gb used, which is correct.

  • Masonspamtest

    One program says the path to the phone is ”::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}\?usb#vid_045e&pid_04ec&mi_00#7&15dff71d&0&0000#{6ac27878-a6fa-4155-ba85-f98f491d4f33}SID-{10001,990792ae – 24bf64e0 – 281f971b – 099ed496,15129837568}” 

  • Ryan Freitas

    I have a solution for everybody that has the problem where you would click on your phone’s storage and it is empty. First of all, start off with Zune closed and your phone unplugged. plug in your phone and when Zune opens make sure your phone syncs. Now close Zune. Click Start and click Computer you should see your phone under ‘Portable Devices’ Click on it and click storage. There you go! :)

  • Sanket Porwal

    does not work me as well… got 2 entries of my Nokia Lumia 710 phone but no folders in those… Pls help

  • Risky

    Ohh great.. i tried this and got success.. thanks a ton mate….

  • Oliver

    I still can’t find the Lumia when I plug it in after doing the hack… On a windows 7

  • http://www.facebook.com/bas.bouwman.7 Bas Bouwman

    Wow! Thanks, works like a charm!

  • isja

    You’re great!!! It worked when I closed Zune. Zune sucks;)

  • Ijal

    Thank you very-very much. it works on my omnia7!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/arwin.wisse Arwin Wisse

    Thanks it worked for me!

  • Sachin

    Worked for Lumia 510 with windows phone 7.8

  • Alex Zhang

    Awesome! Every Lumia user should see this

  • http://twitter.com/hamzahussaini Hamza Hussaini

    thing is its only showing the files in the Pictures and the Music folder, I’ve also got some file from some apps for e.g. .wav recorded files. Unable to find them :( in the directory anywhere so please help.

  • Billy

    Is there anyway to assign a drive letter to storage on the phone? I need to do a file recovery and it doesn’t recognize it as a “Portable Device”

  • Daniel

    Is there a way for this for windows phone 8 or can this also be done on WP8?

  • Azrael

    Works , but has a strange effect: there are 2 almost identical but separate entries for the same phone in My Computer.

  • http://sergioninat.tumblr.com/ Sergio Nimt

    Gracias tío, sí funciona!

  • Joyce

    You saved my life!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you soooo much~