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Is it safe to disconnect an external drive any time?

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NickNielsen Moderator

1. If you are connecting the drive through an external port, it's an external drive, no matter what else the manufacturer calls it. Thumb drives, key drives, USB drives, portable HDDs, whatever, are all external drives.

2. You should always use the Safely Remove option to remove external drives. This allows Windows to close any open files on the drive, finish any saves to the drive, and in general make sure the drive is ready for removal.

3. If you are unable to get Windows to release the drive ("The drive cannot be removed now, please close all programs that might be using it and try again..."), you can usually release the drive by logging off and logging back on.