Not using Safely remove hardware!

September 8, 2006 at 17:57:49
Specs: Windows XP Home, 256

Hey! Everybody,
What is the purpose of using the"Safely Remove Hardware"icon in the taskbar,near the clock,when I use an external device.Why can't I just unplug the device? Your answer is greatly appreciated!

Matthew P Ebien-Pesa

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September 8, 2006 at 18:17:15

It's to help with write caching.

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September 8, 2006 at 18:17:55

It depends a lot on the device. If it is a mass storage device like Flash Memory or a Hard disk, just pulling the plug could render the device unusable and lead to data loss if there is still some data still in a cache waiting to be written to the device.

Using the Safely Remove the device ensure all caches are flushed and the device is in a known state.

Other devices like printers may have data waiting to be printed. Pulling the plug could also lead to data loss.


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September 8, 2006 at 18:20:36

You run the risk of damaging your device or rendering the contents unreadable... consider what happens if you turn your PC off without shutting down!

Once I thought I was wrong, now I'm not so sure!

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Related Solutions

September 8, 2006 at 18:20:38

If you believe the MS hype it is not needed on XP. 2000 has to be used.

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September 8, 2006 at 19:00:59

If you wait a few minutes after the last write to the drive, that should give the OS time to finish writing and it 'probably' would be safe to pull the plug.

But I wouldn't do it without using safe remove.

Do yourself a favor BACKUP!

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September 8, 2006 at 19:21:20

Read this tip - it explain it all why you should always use the Safely Remove Hardware.


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September 8, 2006 at 19:28:21

Further, the only time I don't use Safely Remove Hardware is when I have digital camera memory card in the USB-powered Memory card reader.

If I use it the entire card reader will shut down, necessitating a computer restart. Instead I right click the memory card drive to "safely" eject it.


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September 9, 2006 at 05:07:45

I am a safe driver so I don't need to wear a seatbelt but I do.

I also use "Safely remove hardware" before unplugging my USB devices even though on WinXP it is not necessary.

XpUser's link is good.


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September 9, 2006 at 16:38:13

Thanks all of you for all the good tips and advice! I learn something every day.Thanks again and Have a Great Weekend!

Matthew P Ebien-Pesa

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September 12, 2006 at 14:23:12

To negate the need for this for HD's & flash drives you should go to Device Manager - Disk Drives - Right Click on your drive - Properties - Policies and tick "Optimize for quick removal". I have not noticed any difference in performance between the 2 settings.

I have been using XP ever since it first came out and I can tell you that over the years I've had countless and myriad USB devices plugged into many many machines and have never ever used "Safely Remove Hardware" and similarly never ever suffered any data loss or corruption or any ill effects whatsoever that I can recall.

The only important thing to remember is to not yank whatever it is out whilst it's writing but that's got to be obvious, hasn't it...?

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