Top 4 Ways to Safely Unmount USB Drive in Windows

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Why care?

Lost data, corrupted filesystems, crashing programs...

Those are results of removing drives from Windows without safely removing (ejecting) them.

Certainly, many of you take USB disks out without disconnecting them and did not have any problems. You were just lucky. The time will come, when you least expect it, that you will remove drive during data operations and it will get corrupted.

There is an option in Windows called Optimize for quick removal. It makes operating system immediately save files on disk without caching them. Sounds good right? Unfortunately, it is not entirely clear how much you can trust Windows on this plus with a little bit of bad luck you can physically remove the disk just when data operations are in progress.

What happens when you click "Eject"?

In general, this is what happens when you safely remove device:

  1. System flushes all active writes to disk.
  2. System informs all programs (that know how to be informed) that the disk is going to be removed, and to take proper actions.
  3. System alerts the user about the results:
    • Shows warning when programs have failed to take action and still are holding files open on that drive.
    • Shows confirmation when programs have released all files on that drive.

Top 4 ways to unmount a drive

Here I will present you 4 ways how you can eject disk. They all of them work the same. You can use any of them - which one suits you.

System tray – most common

  1. Expand hidden icons in tray by clicking expand icon.

    unmount-usb-device-eject-icon
  2. Click icon Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media.

    unmount-usb-device-eject-icon
  3. Click on drive you want to eject.

    unmount-usb-device-eject-click
  4. Wait for the confirmation window. When you see it, you can safely remove drive.

    unmount-usb-device-eject-icon
  1. Right click (right mouse button) on the drive you want to unmount.

  2. Click Eject from the context menu.

    unmount-usb-eject-context-menu
  3. Wait for the confirmation window.

    unmount-usb-device-eject-icon

Manage bar

  1. Select disk you want to unmount.

  2. Click Eject button in Manage top bar.

    unmount-usb-eject-manage-menu
  3. Wait for the confirmation window.

    unmount-usb-device-eject-icon

Rundll command – retired in Windows 10

  1. Execute one of those commands in run box. You also can easily create shortcut for them if you use them often.

    control.exe hotplug.dll
    or
    RunDll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL hotplug.dll

  2. Select disk you want to unmount.

  3. Click Stop.

    safely-remove-hardware-rundll

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