Windows Explorer lets you open a USB drive or DVD when you insert them, but to return to them later, you've got to reopen Explorer and click your way to the disk or device. Thanks to Desk Drive from Blue Onion, though, you can instantly open your flash drive, CD-ROM, DVD, or other external storage devices and media. It's a free tool that sits in your System Tray until you insert an external device. Desk Drive then places a quick-access icon on the desktop that links to the drive and hangs around until you eject it. Desk Drive does more than open thumbdrives and DVDs; you can enable it for fixed and removable drives, networked drives, and even RAM-based devices. You can also configure it to open Explorer automatically, too.
We installed Desk Drive and inserted a USB drive, and the program instantly created a desktop icon labeled with the drive's name and letter and simultaneously initiated the Windows file-opening dialog. We closed this and clicked the desktop icon. The drive opened directly in its file directory. Right-clicking the icon called up the removable drive's tabbed properties sheet with all settings and controls directed to the drive, not the shortcut. We ejected the drive, and the icon went transparent before vanishing while the Windows Safe to Remove Hardware message appeared above the System Tray. We even tried Desk Drive with a password-protected USB drive, and it opened fine; we just had to go through the password dialog to access the protected files. Right-clicking the Desk Drive icon in the System Tray called up the program's Settings dialog, a series of check boxes for selecting device types and functional choices such as running at start-up and hiding the tray icon. There's an entry field for excluding drives and a publisher's Web link, but that's about it.
Desk Drive is rated for XP and Vista, but we tested the 64-bit application in Windows 7 with no troubles whatsoever. It's a simple tool with a simple job, but it can reduce keystrokes, mouse clicks, and time spent navigating to files and folders.