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[Hack] Turn Your Windows Phone 7 Device Into A USB Drive

With every passing day, the hacking and development community for almost any device, platform or technology seems to be getting smarter. We have been witnessing the same for iOS, for Android, for gaming consoles, and now, it’s merely two weeks since Windows Phone 7 came to be, and already the hacker community is high on its toes trying to unleash the true potential of Microsoft’s newest mobile phone OS. Among these tricks and hacks comes the one to connect your WP7 device with your PC as a USB flash drive.

This feature is not officially supported, but a little registry tweaking does the trick. One downside is that this is a PC-specific hack, which means you cannot just plug in your WP7 device to any PC and use it as a USB; instead, this hack needs to be performed on the computer first. You will need to have Zune installed on your PC in order for this to work.

Following is a step-by-step guide to achieving this hack on your PC.

  • Make sure Zune desktop application is closed before you begin.
  • Go into Windows’ registry editor on your PC by typing regedit in your Start/Run menu.
  • Find HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\USB
  • Expand the USB tree and do a search for ZuneDriver.
  • Selecting ZuneDriver will populate a number of entries in the right panel. Here are the three that you need to edit:

Change ShowInShell from 0 to 1
Change PortableDeviceNameSpaceExcludeFromShell from 1 to 0 Change EnableLegacySupport from 0 to 1

That’s it. The hack is done, no reboots required. Try connecting your phone with the PC and it will show up in Windows Explorer. With Zune closed, you can modify the files as well, which for now include only music, images and videos. You can virtually paste any file in these folders but it won’t show up in the device, so that’s pretty much pointless.

Tech corporate giants like Microsoft and Apple seem to have taken a certain liking to closed, restricted operating environments in the name of user security. While the approach is generally feasible and actually effective in combating malware across these platforms, it almost definitely leaves the users craving for more, especially when they see their Android-wielding peers boasting the sharing capabilities of their devices. Since it almost-definitely serves as a double-edged sword, perhaps it’d be better if the choice were left with users themselves rather than enforcing anything by corporate will.

Nevertheless, nice trick to begin the Windows Phone 7 hacking journey with. Watch out for more – I know I will be!

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