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Vista won't let me safely remove hardware

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July 27, 2007 8:56:48 PM

Whenever I use any USB memory stick with a computer running Windows Vista and I'm finished, I click on the Safely Remove Hardware icon to stop using it. I get a message saying that Windows cannot stop because the device is still in use, and to clase all applications. But all applications are already closed. The Task Manager shows no applications are open. I tried running a small program called "handle" to show any handles connecting to the USB drive, and it shows no handles. I've disabled Indexing Service just in case it was that. It still won't allow me to disconnect. It doesn't matter what memory stick I use, and all of these memory sticks will work fine and disconnect fine using the Safely Remove Hardware icon on computers with XP and Win2000. So to disconnect on the Vista computer I have to shut it down. What is going on?
July 27, 2007 9:14:24 PM

I just pull it out regardless if it is safe or not.
July 27, 2007 11:24:13 PM

Van,

In your case the device you are using is still in use. For instance if you are just moving files to and from the device and leave something as simple as the explorer window open while trying to remove the device it will show in use. You will need to kill any windows/applications you are running which are using that device prior to doing a safe removal.

Now you can just pull and pray (sorry had to given the evi quote above this post). but there is a slight possibility/chance that you will indeed corrupt data on the device. I have done the same thing many times and have not yethit any errors. The problem comes when you pull the device out prior to a write completing.

Hope this helps!
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July 29, 2007 11:03:41 PM

Windows has always allowed you to remove your flash media as long as the safely remove hardware icon is in the system tray. Some people just worry too much about that. Only a mac will screw up your data if you pull it out.
July 31, 2007 3:38:20 AM

gc that is not a correct statment.

Be advised that you will corrupt data if you pull it in the middle of a write sequence.
a b } Memory
a c 156 G Storage
July 31, 2007 4:13:38 AM

First off, as said windows was still using it. i get it all the time on XP just close all explorers + other things accessing the drive and try again.

As for un plugging. windows has devices of this kind optimized for quick removal. as such there is no buffering so once the files is there its there. not like real drives where it will sometimes buffer a small file and write it a few seconds later. In the case of a buffered write shutting down will looks the data in the buffer and cause corruption. i have NEVER seen this on a USB flash drive


for vista you may need to check maybe they used the other setting by default....but i doubt it
August 1, 2007 10:54:03 PM

I checked, and it is optimized for quick removal. It says there that being optimized for quick removal means I don't have to use the Safe Removal icon. But it still gives me an error message if I pull it out without using Safe Removal, or if I try to use Safe Removal it still says the device is in use.

Remember that this is with all applications closed and also checking that there are no handles to the USB device. Is it actually okay to remove it, and the error messages and Vista telling me it's still in use when it's really not some kind of "design feature"?
a b } Memory
a c 379 G Storage
August 1, 2007 11:31:48 PM

Is your usb formatted using NTFS or FAT? Seems like if my usb drive is formatted NTFS I'll get that error even if it is set to optimize for quick removal. FAT works as expected.
August 1, 2007 11:42:04 PM

vanguardmellophone said:
I checked, and it is optimized for quick removal. It says there that being optimized for quick removal means I don't have to use the Safe Removal icon. But it still gives me an error message if I pull it out without using Safe Removal, or if I try to use Safe Removal it still says the device is in use.

Remember that this is with all applications closed and also checking that there are no handles to the USB device. Is it actually okay to remove it, and the error messages and Vista telling me it's still in use when it's really not some kind of "design feature"?


I have tried with three different usb memory devices, and even on a known marginal usb port I can't reproduce your problem. I tried several tests... opening a program that might access the device, a program that is accessing the device, and using the device as 'speed boost' memory.

In the case of a program that might access the device, no problem. When a program is accessing the device, I get the warning message to shut down the program. In the case of speed boost, I have to stop it first, then OK to remove.

So this leads me to questions... The first would be are your antivirii programs running? 2nd, any background tasks that might want access to that memory? 3rd, any other unusual programs running? 4th, is this a retail copy of vista?
August 2, 2007 3:20:13 PM

To answer your questions:

I have McAfee antivirus, but it's not running a scan at the time I try to remove the USB flash drive.

I have flash drives formatted as FAT and NTFS, and it does the same on both types.

I can't detect any background tasks that might want to access that memory. Running the Handle utility, it shows no handles connecting to the USB device.

No unusual programs running - no applications running at all, no music, screensaver, encryption, timers or anything like that. The only thing connected to the computer is a printer, which is turned off.

Yes, it's a retail copy of Vista Home Premium, which was installed on the computer when I bought it new (Dell).

I've checked several other forums and found that I'm not alone in having this problem, but thus far I haven't found any solutions beyond the ones discussed here:
1. Close all applications
2. Indexing Service is disabled
3. Drive optimised for quick removal
4. No handles connecting to the device
5. Not using Ready Boost

Any ideas?
a b } Memory
a c 156 G Storage
August 8, 2007 4:13:31 AM

since no ones is replying.

Just yank it out....keep an eye on it, my bet is it will never give you problems.
a b } Memory
a b G Storage
August 8, 2007 4:51:53 AM

I've been running Vista Business since March. I use a USB external hard drive, and I occasionally get that message when I go to disconnect it. When I do get the message, I just wait a few minutes and try again.

Casey
September 13, 2007 6:32:52 PM

It is a bug in Windows Vista. The solution is ridiculously trivial. Close all windows (Yes! even Computer/My Computer) that have any of the files or folder of your USB drive displayed. Try to remove it now.

XP had no problems with this: once you clicked Safely Remove... all windows involved with your flash drive were gone and you could pull it out normally. Vista's Computer window (My Computer) seems to lock your drive, so you can't pull it out. It's a pain in the...

EDIT: Explorer.exe seems to cause this by locking your flash drive...
September 13, 2007 7:31:26 PM

Mine was doing the same thing. In my case DVD43 in the start menu was hanging up the "safely remove". I right click on the icon (DVD43) and exit before hitting Safely Remove. I understand that Nero also causes a similar issue. Go to msconfig/start menu and uncheck everything except what you need. See if that works then add in untill problem returns. You know what to do.
October 12, 2007 5:51:00 AM

It's becuase you have a dell. Thats all it is
October 12, 2007 7:53:52 AM

XP has this kind of problem too, some times. Well if your computer isn't up to date try to update it with MS' patches. IIRC there're one or two patches that address reliability problem with USB devices.
November 29, 2008 8:48:15 PM

How can I see which process is preventing removal?

Why can't Microsoft, or a 3rd party, provide a tool for identifying the hold-up?
(Or can they? Do they? I haven't found any.)

Can I close processes like "svchost.exe" and "explorer.exe" (in Task Manager), or would that cause problems?

How can I copy-and-paste / export / 'print' the open processes (in Task Manager) so I can show what's open?

FutureShop's technicians said with Vista I don't need to "Safely Remove Hardware", so why does the Safely Remove Hardware tool appear in the task bar, and why does Vista say "Problem Ejecting ...
Close any programs or windows that might be using the device, and then try again later"?

Windows says it "will attempt to stop the following devices". When no files are being read/written/moved, why can't Windows stop the devices? If "the indexer" is indexing, why can't Windows stop it? If there is some meaningless process accessing the drive, why can't Windows determine if it is 'real'/relevant/high-priority or not?


I get the error SOMETIMES when I try to remove my external hard drive (high quality: Lacie) (connected by USB).
Task Manager shows all applications are closed. (including Windows Explorer)
There are no spyware/malware/virus processes on my system, according to Ad-Aware and AVG.

Please, you! & Thank you.
Jonathon Neville, Imagiscape, Toronto
a b } Memory
a b G Storage
November 29, 2008 11:17:42 PM

I wouldn't close svchost or explorer - they are necessary for Windows to run. I think some people worry too much about this - just yank the drive. It won't hurt anything.
February 1, 2009 11:51:30 AM

I don’t know how many of you have problem in removing USB drive???

Even if you try number of times it will not get removed (even after closing all applns & windows), finally we will remove physically :fou: 

This should be avoided to OS corruption and USB drive life :( 

I found a solution for this; please download a free application from http://www.uwe-sieber.de/files/removedrive.zip (32.2kB)

I have put that exe in my user folder, typically C:\Users\Admin\RemoveDrive.exe (in vista), C: \Documents and Settings\Admin\ RemoveDrive.exe

Go to command prompt and type removedrive.exe s: -i

(Here my removable drive is “S”, beware all programs and windows associated to drive is closed-otherwise it will show failed)

If it is not doing, try again and again to make it success, or read readme.txt in that zip file

Have a great day today onwards!!! :sol: 
April 15, 2009 6:56:51 AM

i think when you right clicked and copied a file from ur flash drive it will be classified as still used. i think it happened to me too. what i did is copied a different file from my desktop and voila. removed :) 
May 6, 2009 1:13:53 PM

vanguardmellophone said:
Whenever I use any USB memory stick with a computer running Windows Vista and I'm finished, I click on the Safely Remove Hardware icon to stop using it. I get a message saying that Windows cannot stop because the device is still in use, and to clase all applications. But all applications are already closed. The Task Manager shows no applications are open. I tried running a small program called "handle" to show any handles connecting to the USB drive, and it shows no handles. I've disabled Indexing Service just in case it was that. It still won't allow me to disconnect. It doesn't matter what memory stick I use, and all of these memory sticks will work fine and disconnect fine using the Safely Remove Hardware icon on computers with XP and Win2000. So to disconnect on the Vista computer I have to shut it down. What is going on?



I am having the same problem with Windows Vista Home Premium on an HP Pavilion PC.

Sometimes when I try to remove a USB Memory Stick after clicking on "Safely Remove Hardware", I get a message saying that Windows cannot stop the device because it is still in use. I have waited for up to half-an-hour for Windows to stop doing whatever it is that is causing the interference, but that doesn't help.

The Device is Optimized for Quick Removal, and ReadyBoost is disabled, but I have found that if I remove the Memory Stick without selecting "Safely Remove Hardware", some of my files, especially photos, end up being corrupted. Several technicians have told me to just remove it without bothering to click on "Safely Remove Hardware", but this often results in corrupted files on the Memory Stick.

I have tried using "SmartClose" to close all open programs before trying to remove the Memory Stick, but that doesn't help. The only thing that seems to work is for me to shut down the computer completely, before removing the Memory Stick. Sometimes I can get away with using Restart, but the trick is to be able to figure out the exact point at which the system is completely shutdown before it restarts. Logoff/Logon doesn't work either.

I never had this problem with Windows 2000 Pro.

Ludesma.
May 6, 2009 2:59:42 PM



it is not advisable that pull it in the middle . it may l corrupt data
July 9, 2009 2:46:16 AM

Ludesma said:
I am having the same problem with Windows Vista Home Premium on an HP Pavilion PC.

Sometimes when I try to remove a USB Memory Stick after clicking on "Safely Remove Hardware", I get a message saying that Windows cannot stop the device because it is still in use. I have waited for up to half-an-hour for Windows to stop doing whatever it is that is causing the interference, but that doesn't help.

The Device is Optimized for Quick Removal, and ReadyBoost is disabled, but I have found that if I remove the Memory Stick without selecting "Safely Remove Hardware", some of my files, especially photos, end up being corrupted. Several technicians have told me to just remove it without bothering to click on "Safely Remove Hardware", but this often results in corrupted files on the Memory Stick.

I have tried using "SmartClose" to close all open programs before trying to remove the Memory Stick, but that doesn't help. The only thing that seems to work is for me to shut down the computer completely, before removing the Memory Stick. Sometimes I can get away with using Restart, but the trick is to be able to figure out the exact point at which the system is completely shutdown before it restarts. Logoff/Logon doesn't work either.

I never had this problem with Windows 2000 Pro.

Ludesma.



I have an HP Pavillion PC running Vista Home Premium, also, with exactly the same problem. I have tried the same things that Vanguardmellophone and Ludesma have tried to no avail (except pulling the flash drive out anyway). I also have a usb HP personal media drive that I use for backup. I get the same message on it when I click the safe removal button. This is in the AM after the back up completed hours before. No apps are running in Task Manager, nothing is open in the tray. I just shutdown the computer & wait a couple of minutes remove the device and reboot. What a colossal pain!!! Never happened on my prior computers with XP Pro. Would not take any chance of having a backup corrupted or a flash drive with my dissertation in progress. :sweat: 

Strange Attractor
Anonymous
a b } Memory
a b G Storage
August 27, 2009 4:15:32 AM

If you delete any documents off of your flash drive while your using it, you always have to empty the recycling bin, otherwise technically(at least to the computer) the file is still being used in the recycling bin. It does this often on Macs too I've noticed.
August 28, 2009 7:23:27 PM

I get this if the flash drive is the last thing I was looking at in Explorer. See if it still happens when you switch to drive C: in Explorer before trying to disconnect the flash.
Anonymous
a b } Memory
a b G Storage
September 30, 2009 4:26:26 AM

I have this problem too. It only started recently. Just another example of crappy Vista. In my case, It IS checked for permormance and not quick removal. But it's all grayed out - can't change it.

There are not so good things in both Ubuntu and Vista, but I spend most of my time in Vista.

Anyone loaded the software recommended above? Did it contain trojans or anything?
September 30, 2009 10:50:48 AM

I just had this same problem while using a new drive docking station.
Try emptying the recycle bin before clicking on the safely remove hardware icon.
I hadn't sent anything to the Recycle bin in the current session but I thought it was worth a try anyway (thanks previous posters).
That's what I did and it then seemed to work OK (there had been some stuff in the bin from previous sessions).

Cheers
a b G Storage
September 30, 2009 1:39:37 PM

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