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How to Remove a USB Flash Memory Drive | Tech Info Home Page | USB | USB Flash Drives |

Removing a USB drive is more commonly known as "Ejecting" the drive. The "Ejection" reference only refers to the Windows messages you receive during the process of removing a drive. The removal itself is done by simply grasping the drive with your fingers and pulling it out, but this is never done until you first follow the procedure below to allow windows to "Eject" the drive. This software process basically prepares the drive for removal by performing background software processes.

This two step process is as follows and is detailed below on this page

  1. locate the USB Eject icon on the taskbar and click on it
  2. once you receive the message saying the drive is ready, you physically remove it 

When you insert a USB Flash Drive into the computer USB port, it becomes an integral part of the computer's file system, and given a drive letter assignment. For this reason you can not just unplug it from the USB port.

The proper way to remove it is to first eject the drive, then when the computer confirms the drive is ready to be removed go ahead and take it out. This is done by using the "Unplug or Eject Hardware" icon on the Task Bar.

The icon ( in XP), or in Windows 7 ) is found on the bottom right of the screen, on the task bar or within the hidden-icons pop up


An example of Windows 2000 or XP is shown below

Using the mouse move the cursor to the "Unplug or Eject Hardware" icon on the Task Bar ( in XP), or in Windows 7 ) and click the icon with the left mouse key. 

A pop-up will appear showing all available USB devices that can be disconnected (ejected), move the cursor over the device you would like to remove (most likely the one on the top) and click the left mouse key to select it.

In the example above Drive K will be selected but it could be any drive letter from D to Z.

When you see a message like the one above you can remove that one USB device you have selected, if other USB devices are still connected to the computer, and you want to remove them you will have to follow the above procedure for each device.

Click on the OK button to make the message go away.

Messages given on the computer Screen when the USB Media can be removed safely.

You can now remove the USB drive 

In Case of problems

There will be times when you are unable to eject a USB drive, in such cases you will  receive an error message that the drive is in use and can not be removed

This is caused by some program that is using one or more of the files on the USB drive

There are several solutions to this problem

a) leave the USB drive plugged in
b) shut down the computer
c) turn the computer back on, and proceed to windows normally
d) after the computer has finished booting into Windows, perform the eject operation again

If at this point you still can not eject the drive, you can physically remove it, you will receive an error telling you that you have not followed the proper procedure , but at this point any possible damage to the files will be minimized as much as possible.






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