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Your "Safely Remove" USB doesn't work? Here's a fix.


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Alex Ethridge's Avatar
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12-Mar-2009, 12:22 AM #1
Your "Safely Remove" USB doesn't work? Here's a fix.
Ever since I set up Vista Ultimate on one of my systems, I have been plagued with several problems, one of the most annoying of which is that the "Safely Remove" procedure for flash drives almost never worked and I had to shut down the computer.

I have even gone into task manager and shut down every process Windows would let me shut down except Explorer. Then I left it overnight and the next morning, even after all that killing of processes, the damned thing still would not let go.

Here's a fix that has worked for me over the last two days; I hope it continues to work:

http://www.pocketappreview.com/main/item/17
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12-Mar-2009, 07:36 AM #2
I've only been using Vista for a few days and I seem to remember when I ejected flash drives before in xp that the light on the drive was turned off...Vista does tell me it is safe to remove the drive , but I find it strange that the light is still on.
Alex Ethridge's Avatar
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12-Mar-2009, 11:07 AM #3
Yes, and that is just another very annoying thing about Vista. I cannot for the life of me figure out what that has to be--other than just plain sloppy programming.
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12-Mar-2009, 11:26 AM #4
Well, EjectUSB failed to work just now; but, I used another trick I learned at that link. I opened Task Manager and stopped every incidence of Explorer.exe. I then clicked File> New Task in Task Manager> typed Explorer.EXE and pressed enter.

Just to be sure, I opened My Computer and checked and saw the flash drive didn't show. It didn't so I removed it.

I still say this is simply sloppy programming.
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12-Mar-2009, 12:40 PM #5
Flash drives do not need to be "safely removed". By default XP and Vista configure all flash devices for quick removal, therefore you do not need to do anything but remove the drive from the usb port.
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12-Mar-2009, 02:47 PM #6
I totally disagree with that last statement. Perhaps the device is being forced off at the right times, but if you remove it when it has a file locked, you are indeed causing damage. This can be proven by disconnecting the device improperly, then plug it back in, then reboot and watch chkdsk scan it. Its a PC not a MAC, so yes you should safely remove it. Alex, I have been trying to figure this one out myself. Keep trying, if I find something, I will post here.

Last edited by renegade X; 12-Mar-2009 at 02:53 PM..
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12-Mar-2009, 03:18 PM #7
"I totally disagree with that last statement."

Disagree or not it is a statement of fact, check the properties/ policies tab of the flash drive using safely remove window when any flash drive is plugged in, they will all be optimized for quick removal by default.

I guess you can remove the drive at an inadvertant time to cause file system corruption but that does not change the facts of my statement, sorry. I have never used safely remove for flash drives "Ever" and have never had a problem in XP or Vista when doing so.


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12-Mar-2009, 03:33 PM #8
All the flash USB drives that I have used in Vista have their caches turned off by default (set for "quick removal") so there is never any need to use Safely Remove, anyway. But it has worked perfectly otherwise.
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12-Mar-2009, 05:12 PM #9
So you are going to believe everything you read? Do the test, you will see.
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12-Mar-2009, 05:46 PM #10
Do a test that never happens in the real world, no thanks, Like I said before

" I have never used safely remove for flash drives "Ever" and have never had a problem in XP or Vista when doing so."

your beating a dead horse my friend.
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12-Mar-2009, 05:58 PM #11
Last 2 posts, LOL.

What are the dangers of not using the safety remove hardware option? Also, on my Windows XP computer, I have a floppy disk inside of a USB Floppy transferer. I find it odd when I try to stop both of them it won't let me highlight both.
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13-Mar-2009, 12:22 PM #12
When one works in IT, tests are performed for EVERYTHING.

Jason08, you know when you computer gets zapped by a power spkie, and the hard drive no longer boots? This is a good comparison to not safely removing. Corruption in the FAT, or index table. Sometimes the hard drives board will fry, but I do not think anything will fry in an external drive, but I dont know everything. For the floppy drive, you should only have to stop the USB root device.

Elvandil, I will turn the cache off and run a test, I am very curious what I might find.
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13-Mar-2009, 02:46 PM #13
Thanks. By 'root' device, does that mean the floppy itself or the USB?
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13-Mar-2009, 10:54 PM #14
Now forgive me for entering a 'sour' argument but when i 'safely remove' hardware in windows, 'lenny' picks it up as potentially corrupt. Yet when i safely remove the same flash drive in Debian 5 (Lenny) Windows found an error an this drive need to be checked or some Sh** like that. Which I know is total Bulls**t, But such is life. anyway i find that with either windows xp, Vista, Puppy 4.12 or Debian 5.0 Waiting an average of 30 seconds and/or making sure you arent using the flash drive is enough for safe removal regardless if i have 'safely' stopped it before you pulled it.
Alex Ethridge's Avatar
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14-Mar-2009, 01:40 AM #15
Quote:
Flash drives do not need to be "safely removed". By default XP and Vista configure all flash devices for quick removal, therefore you do not need to do anything but remove the drive from the usb port.
That statement contains instruction that if followed will eventually cause grief--maybe sooner or maybe later; but, it will happen.

The problem comes when the drive is physically removed when Windows is writing to or reading from the drive. This read/write stuff seems to never stop in Vista so simply jerking the drive out compounds the possibility of damage to the file table or to individual files.

I can't count the times I've made service calls to locations where people have killed the power to a system instead of using the Windows Shutdown procedure. It's the same for flash drives. You don't just kill the power or otherwise interrupt a transaction without bad consequences on any data storage device. And until we can all actually see all of those tiny ones and zeros running to and from the flash drive and see then equally as well when they stop flowing, "Safely Remove" is just that--safely remove.

I suggest that until we find instructions in the manual to the contrary, our data is safer if we follow the currently-available instructions.

Don't stop reading after the third paragraph on this one:
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_click_...SB_flash_drive

See page 10 of this flash drive manual:
http://www.supertalent.com/support/d...al_English.pdf

See page 8 of this flash drive manual:
http://www.transcendusa.com/Support/...TS-RD13-EN.pdf

See page 6 of this flash drive manual:
http://www.transcendusa.com/Support/...F150_HW_EN.pdf

But, then, there are always those who know more than the experts. It reminds me of a saying I once heard: "Those of you who think you 'know it all' are becoming very annoying to those of us who do."
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