Generic Volume Cannot Be Stopped

Microsoft Windows xp home edition
May 2, 2010 at 08:21:06
Specs: Windows XP Pro
What has been happening on this computer recently is this: twice now, when I have plugged in my Maxtor external harddrive (aka the glorified USB drive) I have gotten the error message "The device Generic Volume cannot be stopped. Please try again later." when I used Safely Remove Hardware option to try and remove it.

The first time, it eventually did release the Maxtor, and looking online I found the program Unlocker recommended for if it happened again. It's working...somewhat. The Unlocker Assistant is unlocking things, but Unlocker isn't appearing in the right click drop down menu - and Unlocker Assistant did nothing when I got the message again.

Both times no processes have been running, I checked through task manager, and all files and folders have been closed.

The second time, autoplay did not start up, though I am not sure why. (Autorun has been disabled on this computer, as I had a virus infect that before, but Autoplay is still enabled.) I am not sure if it is related or not, but for the sake of completeness I will mention it. I do not remember if it popped up the first time this happened or not.

I did attempt what was suggested in the FAQ of Unlocker (uninstall, reboot, remove unlocker keys from registry, reboot, reinstall) and it made no difference. Probably missed a key or something - I tend toward caution in the registry.

The computer is an IBM Thinkpad laptop running Windows XP Pro service pack 3.

Mostly my question is: is there any way to keep that message from happening again, what could possibly (in a generic sense) be causing it, and what do I do if it does appear again and Unlocker does nothing?

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May 2, 2010 at 14:18:37
It's a common problem with removable drives but I found that logging off/on will usually release the drive for safe removal.

Another thing you can do is change the removal policy for that drive. Go into Device Manager, right-click the external drive and choose 'Properties'.

Click the 'Policies' tab.
Click inside the radio button to enable "Optimize for quick removal"
Click "OK"

Now you can remove the drive's usb cable without having to use the "safely remove hardware" icon, as long as the drive isn't being read-from or written to at the time(ie check the drive's activity light isn't flashing before unplugging it).

If you have more than one external drive it's safest to set them all as "optimized for quick removal" so you know it applies to all of them and there's no risk of using "quick removal" on the wrong one.

As an aside, I've read on various forums where some people totally ignore the safe removal routine altogether (and the removal policy) and haven't suffered any data loss or damage. But I rather think they've just been lucky - until one day ........... oops!

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May 3, 2010 at 20:29:13
Thanks for the hint - it hasn't done it again for awhile, but now that I know what it is and have some ideas what to do I can use it with an easier mind.
I'm definitely not going to ignore the safely remove hardware routine unless I change it over to quick removal, though - that' just asking for trouble. Thanks again!

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