Another Way To Safely Eject a Thumb Drive

Dear Computer Lady,

I look forward to your articles because they are so helpful to me.

My problem is that I can’t safely eject a thumb drive from my computer. My son and my sister who are both really computer smart can’t figure out why it doesn’t give me this option. I have had my computer since 2012 and have never been able to do anything but just pull out any thumb drive I put in.

Can you help me with this please? Linda

Dear Linda,

While I can’t tell you why you don’t have the option to eject your thumb drive without actually taking a look at the computer, I can give you some suggestions.

First, it is not a good idea to just pull out the thumb drive while the computer is running. If you have information on the drive, it could become corrupted by doing that.

Second, when I occasionally get a drive that won’t let me eject it, (I keep getting a message that the drive is busy and can’t be safely removed) I simply shut down the computer, remove the USB device and then turn the computer back on. This is a safe way to remove the thumb drive, and for me it is often faster than waiting for the drive to be ready.



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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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    • lrichardb
    • August 22, 2017

    Regarding the ability to remove a USB drive, as long as you have not written (only have read) to the drive, it should (repeat: should) be safe to remove it. Otherwise, shutting down is the best option and by this I am not talking about a hard shut down (unplugging the computer or pushing the off button – this would be as bad as pulling the drive out without ejecting it).

    If there is just no option, the Microsoft Community suggests the following: The “Safely Remove Hardware” icon can sometimes disappear from the notification area. Even though there are devices installed that require it – it’s nowhere to be found.

    When this happens, you may perform the following steps:

    1. Open the Run command by pressing the Windows logo key Image+R.
    2. Enter the following command and hit Enter:

    RunDll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL hotplug.dll

    This will bring up the “Safely Remove Hardware” dialog box:

    From this dialog box you can click on the device you want to remove, and press Stop. Once Windows is done with it, you can then remove the device.

    If it happens often enough, you can create a desktop shortcut for the “safely remove hardware” command.

    · Right click on your desktop, click New, and then click Shortcut.
    · In the resulting dialog box enter the following command:

    RunDll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL hotplug.dll

    · Click Next and change the shortcut name to Safely Remove Hardware.
    · Click Finish.

    Create or delete a shortcut

    Now, whenever you need to remove hardware, and the icon isn’t present on the taskbar notification area, you can simply double click on this new shortcut and get the job done.

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