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Cannot Safely Remove USB Hard Drive

By whitem43 ·
I have just purchased a Maxtor External USB Hard Drive for my HP laptop running Windows XP SP2. In the beginning I was able to use the "Safely Remove..." feature a couple of times. As I filled up the drive, that feature repeatedly comes back with the error that the device cannot be stopped. Even when leaving the computer unattended for long periods of time, and disabling Norton Antivirus and other USB devices (as per Maxtor's KB), I am still unable to safely stop the drive. Is it safe to shut down the computer and then unplug the drive?

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by Mr.Wiz In reply to Cannot Safely Remove USB ...

That should be an OK route to follow if you aren't able to stop the device with Windows running. You may have another issue with USB, though. Try removing some of the data from the external drive and then see if you can stop the device correctly.

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by faradhi In reply to Cannot Safely Remove USB ...

Whenever you get the message that a device cannot be stopped it is because there is a process that is using the drive. For example, I have a drive that has my MP3s. This drive cannot be stopped when Media Player is running because the play lists are on that drive and media player marks them as in use.

So the trick is to find the process that is showing the device is in use.

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by w2ktechman In reply to Cannot Safely Remove USB ...

To answer the question, it should be safe to power down the system and then unplug the device.
But as stated in the above answer, most likely a process is running which is preventing it from closing.
If you cannot find the process, try uninstalling the USB device, uninstall the USB drivers, and scan for changes. It should reinstall everything and the drive should work properly again.

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by fungus-among-us In reply to Cannot Safely Remove USB ...

I also run into this issue from time to time with my external hard drive enclosure. Not sure how your device removal screen is displayed, but I tell mine to display all components. When I select the USB storage device from the main window, a second window pops-up and shows the component list. The list includes: USB storage device, Hard drive model, drive letter. Even though all three things are for the same external hard drive, the one that always allows me to "remove safely" is the listing for the model number.

BTW, yes it is safe to power down/unplug your USB device after you have shut down the system.

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by ruler26 In reply to Cannot Safely Remove USB ...

Use this free program to figure out what's using the USB hard drive: http://ccollomb.free.fr/unlocker/

Once it is installed, you can right click on the USB hard drive's letter in Windows Explorer and click "Unlocker." Sometimes Explorer.exe holds some connections open to the drive even after you've closed all the Windows Explorer instances. Luckily, these show up in Unlocker, and you can click the "Unlock All" button to force Explorer to close the connections. You should be able to safely remove the drive at this point.

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Thanks!!!

by mymail6585 In reply to

I used to have the same problem, but the mentioned program helped me :-) Thank you very much!

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