Safely removing a flash drive – what is it for?

Safely removing a flash drive

Does it make sense to safely remove devices or is it just a relic of the past? Let’s figure it out.

Equipment connected to the computer, for example, USB flash drives, memory cards and external hard drives, should be disconnected according to the rules through the “Safely Remove Hardware ” function.

Why is this done?
If you remove the USB flash drive, for example, at the moment when recording to it takes place, the information may be lost. Safe deletion allows the operating system to correctly terminate all processes associated with a USB drive. Moreover, if you remove the USB flash drive at the moment when Windows will update its file system, a volume corruption error will occur, and the device may not be read at all the next time it is connected.

And if the flash drive is not used at the moment?
It seems that if there is currently no access to the medium (there is no window for copying or transferring data on the screen), it can be removed easily. But this is not so. Firstly, Windows can use a script with caching – this is when information is transferred first to the cache, and therefore to the USB flash drive. That is, the lack of a window does not mean that there are no calls in the flash drive.

And another important point: if you run a program or document directly from a USB drive, it most likely accesses it in the process. So the flash drive needs to be deleted safely.

How to reduce the risk of damage to flash drives and files?
In the updated version of Windows 10, the Quick Removal policy is set by default, which excludes caching when working with flash drives. Thus, you can remove the flash drive without a familiar ritual.

To check the current policy (or enable the necessary one), go to the device manager, find the “Disk devices” tab , right-click on the media in it and select “Properties” . Here you will see two policies: you can enable “Quick Deletion” manually.

Safely removing a flash drive
Safely removing a flash drive

How to remove the flash drive correctly?
When external equipment is connected to your computer, the corresponding symbol appears on the taskbar. Click on it to see all external devices. Find the desired USB drive in the list and click on it. After that, a notification appears on the screen that the equipment can be safely removed.

Conclusion: even if you consider the safe extraction function superfluous, you should not neglect it. When disconnecting USB drives, errors are quite rare, but in the case of external hard drives, safe removal is mandatory.