How to Never “Safely Remove” a USB Drive Again on Windows 10

A woman plugging a USB flash drive into a laptop computer.Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock

Do you always eject your USB drives before unplugging them? You can save yourself a few clicks – and time – with these simple tips, because you’ll never have to eject a USB drive again.

Always make sure a reader is not in use before unplugging it

Generally, the biggest threat to data when removing a USB drive (like a thumb, hard drive, etc.) is unplugging it while data is being written to it. This will stop the write operation and the file being written or copied will be incomplete or might remain as a corrupt file.

Therefore, before unplugging a USB drive from your PC, make sure that all files have finished copying or saving.

Of course, sometimes it’s hard to tell if your computer is writing to a drive. A background process can write to it or a program can perform an automatic backup to it. If you unplug the drive and interrupt these processes, it may cause a problem.

The only way to avoid this is to Safe deletion the reader. however, Microsoft insists that as long as the “Quick delete” system policy is selected and you do not write data to a drive, you do not have to eject it.

You’ll also need to make sure that write caching isn’t enabled for the drive, but you’ll find out more in a moment.

RELATED: Do you really need to safely remove USB flash drives?

Get a reader with an LED

A hand plugging in a USB stick with an LED.Sergio Sergo / Shutterstock

It’s easy to see when some USB drives are in use, as they have a built-in LED that flashes when data is read or written. As long as the LED is not blinking, it is safe to unplug the drive.

If your drive does not have an indicator light, do your best to make sure that a background backup or copy operation is not in progress before deleting it.

Required: Enable Quick Delete Mode in Device Manager

By default, Windows 10 optimizes USB drives so that you can quickly remove them without having to use the “Safely Remove Hardware” notification icon. It does this by disabling write caching.

Write caching can speed up the appearance of USB disk writes, but it can also make you think that a writing process is complete when it is actually running in the background. (This has become the default policy in Windows 10 October 2018 Update, also known as version 1809.)

Since it is possible to re-enable write caching in Device Manager, you need to make sure it is disabled if you want to quickly remove your USB drive without ejecting it in the future.

To do this, click the Start button, type “Device Manager” in the search box, and then press Enter.

Click the arrow next to “Disk Drives,” right-click the external USB drive, then select “Properties.”

Under the “Policies” tab, select the radio button next to “Quick delete” (if it is already selected, leave it that way), then click “OK”.

Close the “Device Manager” and you are ready to go! In the future, you will be able to safely remove this USB drive without ejecting it whenever a write operation is not in progress.

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