Do you use USB memory sticks, external hard drives and other forms of external storage on your Windows computers and devices? If you do, then you should know the best way to remove these storage devices from your computer, so that you don’t encounter issues with corrupted files and prompts for scanning your drives before being able to use them. So, today we are going to discuss how to safely remove external hard drive in Windows.

A Quick Question: Is the probability of losing data greatly increased, if the USB media is still flashing at the time of pulling it out of the computer (as opposed to non-flashing)?

Yes it can, it’s about what happens if you remove the device when it’s in use (reading or writing):

When you plug in a USB drive, you give your PC free rein to write and read data from it; some of which is cached.

Caching occurs by not writing information immediately to the USB device, and instead keeping it in your PC’s memory (RAM). If you were to yank the USB drive out of your PC before this information is written, or while its being written, you’ll end up with a corrupted file.

How to safely remove hardware in Windows 10:

In Windows 10, keep the mass storage device still plugged into your computer. Then, go to the taskbar and click or tapthe arrow pointing upwards, near the icons from the notification area. A list is shown with desktop apps running in the background.

how to remove hardware in windows 10

Click or tap the icon that looks like a USB memory stick and a list is shown with the external devices  that you can remove. This list may include one or more items, depending on how many you have connected to your Windows 10 computer. Press the Eject entry for the removable drive that you want to unplug from your computer.

windows 10 techsupport

Wait for a couple of seconds and Windows 10 will display a notification saying that it is “Safe To Remove Hardware”. The USB mass storage device can now be safely removed.

windows 10 techsupport

Unplug that external device from your Windows 10 computer.

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How to safely remove hardware in Windows 7 & 8.1:

Keep the device that you want to eject still connected to your computer. Go to the notification area on the taskbar and click the arrow pointing upwards. A list is shown with desktop apps running in the background. Click or tap the icon that looks like a USB cable.

how to safely remove hardware in windows 7

A list is shown with the removable devices that you can eject. This list may include one or more devices, depending on how many you have connected. Click the Eject entry for the removable device that you want to unplug.

how to safely remove hardware in windows 8.1

After a couple of seconds, you are informed that it is “Safe To Remove Hardware”. The USB mass storage device that you selected can now be safely removed from your computer.

windows technical support

Unplug that removable device from your Windows computer.

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What to do when you have problems ejecting USB mass storage devices:

At times, it may happen that you get an error message saying: “Problem Ejecting USB Mass Storage Device. The device you want to remove is currently in use.

safely remove hardware

This means that at least one file from the selected removable drive is currently running or it is opened by an app that you are using. Close the file that you have opened or the apps that are using files from the removable drive. Then, try to remove that drive again, using the procedure shared earlier in this guide. I hope, it helps.

Idea: Microsoft 

windows 10 technical support

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