You may have seen that users or even you use the Safely Remove Hardware icon to remove USB drive such as pen drive, external hard drive, etc. But there are cases where you may have unplugged the USB device without applying this function and still your external USB device works fine.
As Windows itself says that you don’t need to apply Safely Remove Hardware function to unplug the USB device if you use particular settings “the default settings” but the instruction from windows is confusing one.
Quick Removal vs. Better Performance
Windows optimize your USB devices for fast removal or better performance if you set the default settings. You can set this setting from the Device manager – Click “Start”, type “Device Manager” and then hit “Enter” button to open it.
Now click on “Disk Drive” column in “Device Manager” Right Click on your External drive and select “Properties”.
Go to Policies column from the Properties window. Here you can see that Windows tells you that you can disconnect your USB device without using the Safely Removal Hardware notification icon. It means that you can unplug your USB devices each and every time without applying the option of Safely Remove hardware icon.
Risk of Data corruption
However, the Windows tab that is shown above is confusing one. For example – If you remove the USB device while it is in use like you are moving files from USB device to computer or moving files from computer to USB device then data stored in USB device may corrupt. So, make sure that your USB device is not in use before you unplug it – it doesn’t matter whichever option you select. Some USB device comes with light which blink when it is in use.
But there are some cases where your USB device seems it is not in use, but still it may be in use. There may be a background application may be writing to the External drive and as a result the data may get corrupt if you unplug the USB device at such time. But if you are sure that your USB is not seems to be in use you can then remove it and there will be no data corruption. But to remain on safest side it is always recommendable that you must use Safely Remove hardware icon, when you want to unplug the device. By doing this Windows will notify you when it is safe to remove – ensuring all application is being closed and not in use.
If you opt for Better Performance option, then Windows will not write data instantly instead it will cache data to the USB device. This option will improve the performance of your device, but there are more chances of data corruption if you do not select Safely Remove Hardware option. If you have enabled the caching, Windows do not write data to the USB device instantly – even if data seems to be written to the USB device and all files which is progress gets closed and just the data gets cached on your computer.
At such time when you remove the Device, Windows will blush the write cache to the device, making sure that all required changes are completed before it notify you when it is safe to eject the USB device.
On other hand, if you go for Quick Removal option – it reduces the performance of your device, it is set by default to decrease the chances of data corruption because many users forgot to use or they never use the option of Safely Remove Hardware function when they eject the USB devices.
Safely Removing Hardware
Finally, it doesn’t matter which option you choose, it is recommendable that you must use Safely Remove Hardware function whenever you eject or unplug your USB device from your computer system. You can simply select your USB device from My Computer and Right Click it in and select Eject. Windows will notify you when it safe to remove, and therefore it eliminates any chances of data corruption.
This suggestion goes for Linux as well as for Mac operating system too.