All USB devices typically tell you that you need to eject it via a Safely Remove Hardware icon or other option, and then unplug the device. With that said, most just unplug the device and it still works fine. Many joke about how they like to live dangerously by removing the device without safely injecting it.
Even Windows will tell you that you don’t need to eject the device if you’re using its default settings. But is this really true? Or is there a legitimate reason for safely removing a USB device before yanking it from the drive? Let’s find out.
Increased Performance Vs. Quick Removal
Windows should allow you to change your device either for increased performance or quick removal. The default setting is quick removal, but you can change this via Device Manager, which should be accessed through the Start menu. Once you go into Device Manager, go the Disk Drives, expand it, find your device, right click it, and click on Properties. Then, choose the Policies tab.
You should see that Windows will say you can remove your USB device without ejecting it first. Therefore, you can unplug it without having to worry, right? Let’s see if that’s true.
USB and Data Corruption
If you unplug your USB as data is writing itself to it, such as saving a file to your USB drive, you could get data corruption. To minimize your risk of corrupted data, you should make sure the USB isn’t being used before you pull it out. Some drives have blinking lights that indicate they’re in use.
But even if the lights aren’t blinking, it could still be in use. Background programs could be on the drive, so the light could be misleading. Even if your USB drive doesn’t appear to be in use, using Safely Remove Hardware is good peace of mind, as it decreases your chances for data corruption. Once you safely eject a device, Windows should inform you whenever you can remove it safely. This ensures that your device is safe.
So what does the Better Performance option do, anyway? It will allow Windows to cache your data before it writes it to the USB. While this will improve your device’s speed, you will increase your chance of corrupted data by a long shot if you don’t eject the device first. Not only that, but Windows won’t write the data to your device right away, and the data may not even be on the USB even if it seems to have been written.
If you eject your USB while on Better Performance, Windows will stop caching and will notify when it’s safe to take out the device.
Overall, Quick Removal is the way to go if you are using your USB daily, and reduces your chances of corruption. This is why most don’t use the Safely Remove Hardware option and instead unplug their USB on the fly.
How to Safely Remove Any Device
As we said before, using Safely Remove Hardware, regardless of setting, is good if you’re worried that your data may be corrupted. To use the option, click on the icon and eject. Another way is to go to Computer, right click your device, and click on eject. After you do this, wait until Windows says that you can remove the device.
This will work for Linux and Mac as well, so go for it.
And now you know the importance of ejecting your devices. While most of you may continue to pull out your devices before not removing them safely, at least you’ll know why you should.