Readers are submitting their best life hack for a chance to win an autographed copy of our new book, Upgrade Your Life. Here's our latest winner.
Reader Jill carries her life on a thumb drive and if she loses it, she wants to make it as easy on the person who finds it as possible to return the drive. Jill writes in:
I've been messing around with a way to mark my thumb drive so it will (maybe) be returned if I lose it. Chances are, I won't actually "lose" it; I will leave it at the house of a friend or at work. But I want to get it back—ASAP—without having to call all over the universe to find it. Of course, the drive is encrypted so i don't need to worry about data falling into the wrong hands. I only worry about having to rebuild EVERYTHING because I carry my life on my thumb drive.
After trying out a splash screen and a launch.bat file, Jill decided she wanted something simpler and more obvious. She says:
I decided to just label my drive something other than "Removable Disk" and add an eye-catching custom icon to it.
So I created a next text file in Notepad, typed the word:
And saved it to the root directory—the "main" area of your drive, not in a folder—as autorun.inf.
I chose a big yellow smiley face for my icon but any brightly coloured, unusual icon will be easily noticed. I copied the icon to the root directory of my thumb drive and renamed it myicon.ico.
Then I opened my autorun.inf file and added this text:
icon = .\myicon.ico
label=My Name (mobile xxx-xxx-xxxx)
(Of course, you will substitute your name and your mobile number for the above text.) I saved the file and marked it "read only" and hid it (just as an added sense of security—a lot of people have not learned how to tweak their "Show hidden folders" settings and, thus, will not be tempted to delete or
edit the file.)
Once I unplugged and re-inserted my thumb drive, it looked like this:
Nice! Congratulations, Jill! Your smiling USB drive label just earned you an autographed copy of Upgrade Your Life. Ok, tomorrow is the absolute final day of the contest, with just one copy of the book left. Submit your best life hack to win it now!