One thing that is kind of inconvenient about Windows is the process of removing a flash drive, portable drive or external hard drive from a USB port. Can’t just yank it out – no way – that would be too easy! Instead, you have to find the icon in the System Tray, click it, choose which USB device you want to remove, then wait for the computer to give you permission that “you can now safely remove the device”.
Why is this required? Is your computer going to stop working if you just pull out the USB cable without going through that recommended process?
No, probably not. Key word: probably. Actually, most of the time if you just yank it out, there won’t be any problems. But there is that small percentage of times when you just pull it out quickly and then find out later that the data on the flash drive is corrupted or the drive cannot be read.
The reason that might happen is because the computer might actually be reading the content on the flash drive (or actually putting data ON the flash drive) at the moment you disconnect it. If that’s the case, the drive might get really confused when it’s trying to save some data and then suddenly there’s not only no more data coming in, there’s not even a computer there any more. It can kind of mess things up on the drive and you don’t want that.
It’s kind of like if you were watching TV on your big 60″ widescreen television that you just got for Christmas, and you are leaving to go out to eat. In most cases you just hit the Power button on the remote, and that shuts down the TV. You do it that way because that is what’s best for the television. What if instead, after your show was over, you just walked over and yanked the television’s power cord from the wall? Like the USB, in most cases it probably wouldn’t do any damage, but there are those few occasions where it might. So it’s good to go through the regular power-down process with the television.
But with your computer, there’s a way to get around having to do that every time you disconnect a flash drive or portable drive.
Here’s how you do it:
1. Connect the portable drive with the USB cable
2. Click the Start button and in the Search field, type “device manager” and hit enter. (In Windows 8, do a search for Device Manager and click on it in the search results.
3. In the Device Manager window, find the “Disk drives” category and click on the little triangle to the left to expand that category. You should see your external drive listed there by name (mine is a Toshiba):
4. Now, do a right click on the drive name and choose Properties, then click on the Policies tab. Under “Removal policy”, check the option called “Quick Removal”. It might already be checked by default for your device:
5. Click OK, then close the Device Manager window.
All done! Now you can plug it in and unplug it whenever your heart desires, and you no longer have to get permission from your computer to do it.
Note: If you use this hard drive on a different computer, you should go through this same process again to make sure it is configured properly for quick removal. Same goes for any other portable/external drive you might use on your computer.