"Safely Remove" Use or not to use?

msm84December 12, 2013

My son told me that the tech at his work said you do not need to use "Safely Remove" on his W-7 laptop when detaching printers, media cards, flash drives, etc. I'm "Old School" and can't hardly believe this. Who is correct.....Mom or the Tech??

BTW; I have a (new to me) W-7 laptop and there is no Safely Remove Icon. I have checked everywhere for a restore, but no luck. I have to go to My Computer and locate the item then hit "Eject". Is this the only solution?

TIA, MsMary

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If the attached media is removed improperly there is risk. The three biggest potential concerns are; loss of data, turning the data into read only, and the loss of the use of the media space from which data had just been deleted.

A basic Google search using the keywords "windows 7 safe remove" (sans quotes) presents a plethora of information such as below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Microsoft

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 1:13PM
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Mom is always right, no matter what the subject!

On this one, I don't have a technical answer but I have a practical one. I use the "remove" step for memory items I care about - cards and external drives. Someone once pulled out a SD card from one of my PCs without doing "remove" and about half the files on it got corrupted and inaccesible. It wasn't in the middle of a read/write operation to my knowledge, it just wasn't ready to leave the dock.

It's a few seconds to, easy enough.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 1:15PM
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Pooh Bear

My understanding of the process is that using "safely remove hardware" turns off the signal to the USB port. Not turning off this signal can cause arcing of the contacts and burn out of the USB port.

I use the option every chance I can, but sometimes a flash drive refuses to disconnect so I just unplug it. Never had a problem so far.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 7:18PM
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I use the option every chance I can, but sometimes a flash drive refuses to disconnect so I just unplug it. Never had a problem so far.

That is not an option with Windows 7. Myself I go to Windows Explorer and right click on the USB drive then click Eject.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 8:21PM
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I never use it on my old desktop, XP - it never worked. If I clicked 'safely remove.' I would have to restart my computer to put another drive in. Never shut off.

This machine is 6 yrs old and I never lost anything and used it almost daily for 6 years without 'safely.'

I guess I was lucky!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 12:15AM
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Here's the technical answer:

When you *write* a file to a USB drive (or any drive) and Windows/Mac says the copy is finished, it's not finished.

To speed things up, part of the file is "cached" in memory -- the copy finishes shortly after. You can disable this, but I wouldn't recommend it.

"Safely remove" ensures that the data is completely written to the drive. If you haven't written anything to the drive, or if the file copy finished more than about 10 seconds ago OR the "busy" light stopped flashing (or whatever it does on your device, if such a light exists), then it's perfectly safe to remove the device with a few rare exceptions.

If you did write a file and remove the device too early, that file will simply not be written to the disk. This is a slight oversimplification which involves the file system journal and other details which I'll discuss if anyone cares, but I'm just trying to give a rule of thumb here.

It's never "wrong" to "Safely remove", but it wastes a little bit of time.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 1:09AM
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Thanks everyone! I guess I'd rather be "safe" then "sorry" and continue doing what I have always done ((grin))

Still don't have the icon so I'll use My Computer and stop the drive from there.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 10:15AM
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At the end of the workday, I would back up my files to three different drives. I never hit 'safely' because I would have to restart the computer each time. I would plug the drive in, back up, pull it out, put the next one in and so on.

If I shut off the drive from My Computer, it wouldn't start again when I put in a drive. I would have to reboot. So I just gave up, could never figure out what the problem was.

Never lost anything although I realize it was a risk.

This desktop is now used at home and I still do the same thing although it not work related, just photos and standard backups.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 10:53AM
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The noise you hear is the clock of fate ticking. If it happens I will assure you it will happen at the most inconvenient time. Been there.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 1:43PM
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No noise.

Computer has always worked perfectly except for 'safely.' I'm not complaining. Just wanted to point out that not using 'safely' hasn't caused me any problems.

Planning to donate this computer whenever I get the 'urge' to learn Win 8.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 2:05PM
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msm84.....the icon is there, it just set up a little differently in windows 7.....

If you go down to your taskbar, near your clock you'll see the icons that run at startup....there is a little upward pointing arrow, just at the end of that list.....if you put your pointer on it, it will say Show Hidden Icons, left click on it & then left click on Customize....find the entry for Windows Explorer & set it to "Show Icons & Notifications"......click OK.....

Now the Safely Remove Hardware icon will appear when you insert a usb drive....

Hope this helps,

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 6:41PM
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W8 isn't tough. Just different.

Go for it.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 8:07PM
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Kanooka Thanks...That worked!!

Just one more question: So I have a usb port open I have a hub I plug in for my mouse and keyboard (hate the laptop keyboard) and it doesn't show up in "Safely Remove". Is there an explanation for that?

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 12:10PM
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Jane, There should be choices of things to stop. I know with my external card reader I just select the card in question (the blue light goes out next to it) and not the entire card reader. Sounds like you are turning off the "Drive" not just the "Device". Maybe one of the techs here can verify that.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 12:19PM
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You are right on point.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 2:52PM
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