Questions on: safely remove hardware and Windows task manager

By DLambie
Jun 24, 2010
  1. Every now and then I get an error, "The device 'Generic volume' cannot be stopped because a program is still accessing it", after trying to safetly remove my USB device.

    No matter what I do I can not get it to say Device is ok to be Safetly Remove (or what ever it is)... - I mean I close everything that I can think of; I have tried to close a few program under the "Processes" tab of the windows task manager however some of these unsure if I she End Process so when unsure I do not. Is there anyway of knowing what these programs are?

    Back to the USB device isue - will shutting off computer be good enough to unplug the USB drive? As there is always a little power in the computer on shut down.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated - thanks,
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    Look in the bottom toolbar for a tiny icon that has a green arrow pointing down to the left, and a grey image of a USB flash drive just below it.
    Right click on that tiny arrow-grey box set. You will get the box "Safely Remove Hardware"
    Click on that choice, and wait until you get the message on your screen that it is safe to remove the USB flash device.
  3. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    Absolutely safe to unplug the USB device once windows is shutdown
  4. DLambie

    DLambie TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 82

    thank-you for the replies

    TECHSPOT is the best place to come for computer help - I have recommended this site to me even to those people who I fix computer for lol
  5. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    Glad you like TechSpot! (me too, that's why i've stuck around the last several years). And we're all glad to help :)

    also, fyi, the reason behind Safely Remove Hardware is to assure Windows isn't still in the middle of something or have any open files on the drive you want to remove. So doing a "normal" Windows shutdown also assures Windows will cleanup anything it has open so you can safely remove the drive after shutdown.

    On the other hand, "forced shutdowns" i.e. holding in the power button for 10 seconds, should only be used when all other shutdown attempts fail. A forced shutdown "interrupts" Windows to force the shutdown. (Of course, sometimes that;s the only way to do it so only to be done as last resort to shutdown)
  6. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    Assuming that Windows XP will assure Windows will clean up anything it has open, just doesn't work in every case... not for every USB flash drive of every quality.

    It sort of depends on How much do you trust Microsoft design?

    Windows XP design is supposed to work that way but for the short time it takes, it's always worth stopping a device before you pull it out. The option to stop isn't even offered for printers and scanner, so you can just pull them out as you like. I've never seen a hard drive give any problems but a wise computer user will stop the drive first,

    Windows XP simply does not detect every case of a flash drive being completely stopped. True you should be able to expect Windows XP to run properly and shut down when safe. Test it with a variety of flash drive models working large files with a ready light goes out when you stop it using the Windows stop, so you KNOW it isn't doing anything. But don't trust Windows. We have seen many instances where such drives as no-names brands and the crummy SanDisk Cruzer were damaged because Windows XP detected the stop had taken place. The data is lost or damaged, and finding it is difficult.
  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,149   +597

    user experience with this issue:

    using the Safe Remove hardware icon in the system tray may or may not work on the first attempt. I've found that selecting the device and clicking Stop may give the 'Unable ...' response, but attempting again frequently resolves the issue.

    Things known to interfere:
    • an Explorer window open on the device or a directory
    • a program that is running where a file was accessed on that device
    • actively file sharing such a device
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