Unable to "safely remove" external hard drive

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

I'm using a Western Digital 250 GB external USB hard drive on an XP SP-2 Pro
system. The drive is recognized by Windows when connected, but after
searching and copying files to the disk, when I go through the two-step
"safely remove hardware" process (taskbar icon), I often get a Windows alert
that "the device cannot be disconnected right now - try again later", or
something to that effect.

If I log off and back on, I am able to successfully remove the device. Ditto
if I terminate explorer.exe and then relaunch it (Windows Task Manager).

To complicate matters further, the problem seems intermittent. I cannot
duplicate it on command.

Any ideas on this?
3 answers Last reply
More about unable safely remove external hard drive
  1. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

    Hi,

    I have been plagued by the same problem for quite some time.

    While I am only 2 days into a possible fix evaluation, I think I know what
    is causing my problems.

    My "PATH" has references to the external Hard Drive.

    Here is a Bat file I am using to remove the references. "SYS_OFF.Bat"
    ------------------------------------
    REM SEPTEMBER 23, 2004
    Echo on

    ECHO ERRORLEVEL = %ERRORLEVEL%

    pathman /rs "P:\Program Files\Microsoft SDK 07-2002\Bin\." /rs "P:\Program
    Files\Microsoft SDK 07-2002\Bin\WinNT\." /rs "P:\Program Files\Microsoft
    Visual Studio\VC98\bin" /rs "P:\Program Files\Microsoft SDK 07-2002\Bin\."
    /rs "P:\Program Files\Microsoft SDK 07-2002\Bin\WinNT\." /rs "P:\Program
    Files\Microsoft SDK 07-2002\Bin\WinNT\." /rs
    "E:\WINDOWS;E:\WINDOWS\COMMAND"

    ECHO ERRORLEVEL = %ERRORLEVEL%

    set

    Pause Hit A Key When Done

    ------------------------------------

    I have a similar one for inserting the External Hard Drive references back
    in.

    "Pathman" is from the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools.

    A manual test can be done by modifying "PATH" using

    Start / Settings / Control Panel / System / Advanced / Environment Variables

    I hope that I have shown you a "PATH" that helps you.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++
    If the "safe hardware removal" Icon disappears, built a shortcut with the
    following:

    %windir%\System32\rundll32.exe shell32.dll Control_RunDLL hotplug.dll
    SW_SHOW

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    --
    Stephen H. Fischer


    SmarSquid wrote:
    > I'm using a Western Digital 250 GB external USB hard drive on an XP SP-2
    > Pro system. The drive is recognized by Windows when connected, but after
    > searching and copying files to the disk, when I go through the two-step
    > "safely remove hardware" process (taskbar icon), I often get a Windows
    > alert that "the device cannot be disconnected right now - try again
    > later", or something to that effect.
    >
    > If I log off and back on, I am able to successfully remove the device.
    > Ditto if I terminate explorer.exe and then relaunch it (Windows Task
    > Manager).
    >
    > To complicate matters further, the problem seems intermittent. I cannot
    > duplicate it on command.
    >
    > Any ideas on this?
  2. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

    Try removing the drivers from device manager (whilst the drivesplugged in)
    and reinstall it from scratch (either just plug it back in and let XP do it's
    thing, or use the manufacturers utils).

    You could also dissable caching for the drive though dev man - but this will
    slow it down

    hope it helps

    "Stephen H. Fischer" wrote:

    > Hi,
    >
    > I have been plagued by the same problem for quite some time.
    >
    > While I am only 2 days into a possible fix evaluation, I think I know what
    > is causing my problems.
    >
    > My "PATH" has references to the external Hard Drive.
    >
    > Here is a Bat file I am using to remove the references. "SYS_OFF.Bat"
    > ------------------------------------
    > REM SEPTEMBER 23, 2004
    > Echo on
    >
    > ECHO ERRORLEVEL = %ERRORLEVEL%
    >
    > pathman /rs "P:\Program Files\Microsoft SDK 07-2002\Bin\." /rs "P:\Program
    > Files\Microsoft SDK 07-2002\Bin\WinNT\." /rs "P:\Program Files\Microsoft
    > Visual Studio\VC98\bin" /rs "P:\Program Files\Microsoft SDK 07-2002\Bin\."
    > /rs "P:\Program Files\Microsoft SDK 07-2002\Bin\WinNT\." /rs "P:\Program
    > Files\Microsoft SDK 07-2002\Bin\WinNT\." /rs
    > "E:\WINDOWS;E:\WINDOWS\COMMAND"
    >
    > ECHO ERRORLEVEL = %ERRORLEVEL%
    >
    > set
    >
    > Pause Hit A Key When Done
    >
    > ------------------------------------
    >
    > I have a similar one for inserting the External Hard Drive references back
    > in.
    >
    > "Pathman" is from the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools.
    >
    > A manual test can be done by modifying "PATH" using
    >
    > Start / Settings / Control Panel / System / Advanced / Environment Variables
    >
    > I hope that I have shown you a "PATH" that helps you.
    >
    > ++++++++++++++++++++++++
    > If the "safe hardware removal" Icon disappears, built a shortcut with the
    > following:
    >
    > %windir%\System32\rundll32.exe shell32.dll Control_RunDLL hotplug.dll
    > SW_SHOW
    >
    > ++++++++++++++++++++++++
    >
    > --
    > Stephen H. Fischer
    >
    >
    > SmarSquid wrote:
    > > I'm using a Western Digital 250 GB external USB hard drive on an XP SP-2
    > > Pro system. The drive is recognized by Windows when connected, but after
    > > searching and copying files to the disk, when I go through the two-step
    > > "safely remove hardware" process (taskbar icon), I often get a Windows
    > > alert that "the device cannot be disconnected right now - try again
    > > later", or something to that effect.
    > >
    > > If I log off and back on, I am able to successfully remove the device.
    > > Ditto if I terminate explorer.exe and then relaunch it (Windows Task
    > > Manager).
    > >
    > > To complicate matters further, the problem seems intermittent. I cannot
    > > duplicate it on command.
    > >
    > > Any ideas on this?
    >
    >
    >
  3. The problem is caused by still open handles that XP is unable to terminate itself. Check out the following workaround offered by Microsoft:

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555665
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