Ok so I needed to transfer larger files onto my 32gb external hard drive so I formatted it to NTFS, and I read that the drawback of formatting to NTFS is..."When you have your USB stick set up in this mode, you absolutely must use the "Safely Remove Hardware" method before disconnecting the stick from the computer and you absolutely CANNOT forget to do this. If you do, the data is sure to get corrupted in short order." Its from http://www.pcmech.com/article/fat32-vs-ntfs-on-usb-stic.... I usually forget to safely remove it and just yank it out. Also at my high school, the computers there will NOT allow me to safely remove the USB for reasons I do not know.. So I was wondering if I HAVE to safely remove it so I don't corrupt my files, so I can know whether or not I should stick it in the school's computers.
Remember that you must wait until all writing is done with any file system and then give them a bit of extra time.
You should remove usb sticks by safely ejecting if they are formatted with NTFS or you have a higher risk of data corruption. If that is an issue perhaps exFAT would be a better solution for you if you are staying with Windows XP SP2 to Windows 7 OS?
Actually it's not so much NTFS that requires you to use the "safely remove" icon, but rather whether the drive is configured with the "Quick Removal" option (this is set in the "Policies" tab of the device properties dialogue in the Device Manager app).
If the drive is set to "Quick Removal" then (in theory) you can remove it without worrying about doing a "safely remove". But if it's set to "Better Performance" then you're in danger of corrupting the drive if you just yank it out.
Either way, though, you should NEVER remove the drive if it's access light is blinking.
IMHO you're much better off getting into the habit of using the "Safely remove" icon. Otherwise it's probably just a matter of time before you screw the drive up somehow.
Remember that it's not just the file system you have to worry about, it's the device itself. Some of these high-performance flash drives use pretty large RAM write buffers that take a fair bit of time to empty - I've seen the activity light on my 32GB USB 3.0 flash drives keep blinking for 2 or 3 seconds after clicking "safely remove" and getting the "OK to remove" message. If you were to yank the drive out during that period it would likely cause problems.