How to Safely Remove Your USB Drive

Safely Remove HardwareDid you know that if you don’t remove your USB drive (aka thumb or jump drive) properly, you could potentially damage the valuable data that is stored in memory? This is particularly true if Windows is still accessing the device when you remove it.

Instead of losing your data, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure that you safely remove your USB drive every time.

Safely Remove Drive – Manually

While there are automatic settings within Windows to ensure your device doesn’t get held open every time you access it, you may not know if your computer is setup that way. This is particularly true if you’re using someone else’s computer.

Whenever you want to take extra precaution with your data, it is always wise to activate the Safely Remove Drive features manually.

Safely Remove MediaTo do this, click on the “Show Hidden Icons” up arrow next to your time, and locate the gray device with the green check mark. When you put your mouse over it, it will say “Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media.” Right click the Remove Media icon, and select “Eject [Name of Device].” (Example, Eject FreeAgent Go.)

You will then get a message stating it is

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safe to remove your hardware. Now you can detach your USB device and have peace of mind knowing your data is safe and secure.

Safely Remove Drive – Automatically

However, if you want to be able to remove your USB drive from the computer at will, without worrying about your data, you can set Windows to automatically handle this task.

USB Management SettingsTo check how Windows handles your USB devices, and change the setting if needed, plug in your USB device. Then, open the Device Manager (right click

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on Computer, go to Properties > Device Manager). Expand the Disk Drives heading, and locate your particular disk drive. Right click on the drive, and select Properties. Then, go to the Policies tab.

Here, you will have two options, Quick Removal (default for Windows 7), and Better Performance. If your drive is set to Better Performance, your data is not protected, and you will have to follow the steps to safely remove your drive manually every time.

If your drive is set to Quick Removal, Windows is already managing your USB drive, and you do not need to worry about safely removing your drive manually. Instead, make sure everything is done saving (if you’re updating a document), and then remove your drive when you’re ready.

While newer versions of Windows are already set to Quick Removal by default, don’t just assume that everything will be okay when it comes to your data, particularly if your only backup is on your USB drive. When in doubt, take the time to safely remove your device manually to ensure your data is always safe.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you make peace with your technology. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website:www.mybusinesswriter.com.

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