When 'Safely Remove Hardware' does now work - what now?

By DLambie · 15 replies
May 4, 2010
  1. I tried the 'Safely Remove Hardware' but it ells me
    "Windows can’t stop your Generic volume device because it is in use..."

    I even made sure nothing was copied in the clipboard as I find this is usually the case but this time its not.


    PS I am running vista
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,130   +982

    usually, you have a window open on one of the directories of the device.

    Close all programs
    Close all explorer windows

    try the Safely Remove Hardware again

    if it fails, do it still once more - - sometimes TWICE is require - - hey, it's windows :(
  3. ComputerGuy55

    ComputerGuy55 TS Maniac Posts: 380   +8

    Jobeard is right, but sometimes closing all visually open windows still doesn't let it close.. If you still have the problem and are comfortable with closing processes via Task Manager, close explorer.exe and reopen it with New Task, also close dumprep if you see it, and see if your able to go ahead and Safely Remove.

    Closing explorer.exe should force all open explorer windows (copying, viewing, "open" files on that device) to close and refresh, and when you open Explorer.exe again with the New Task button (just type explorer.exe and hit enter..) it should allow you to safely remove the hardware. Post back with the outcome if your problem has been fixed..
  4. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Hmmm.. Are you suggesting killing the explorer processes (i.e. to kill the desktop) using Task Manager? As that's an interesting approach... but (and i'm just speculating here) i think that approach circumvents the purpose of Safely Remove Hardware
    as i think (not 100 sure) killing processes is pretty much equivalent to just unplugging the USB drive because it doesn't allow Windows to finish it's I/O "gracefully". Just my guess...

    /* edit */
    Note the distinction to closing explorer windows which doesn't kill processes or close the desktop
  5. ComputerGuy55

    ComputerGuy55 TS Maniac Posts: 380   +8

    You would be correct in the fact that it kills the process while it is in use. But sometimes processes Loop so that it really never is Safe to remove it.. This is more of a last resort to come to. But more so, if he is just copying something over it will corrupt what ever is being copied at the time, he can delete and do it again, but I have done this a few times myself and never had a problem with it.

    When you hit Cancle on your copying of a file and it goes away but still says it is not safe, closing explorer wont harm it more as it really is just looping.. But I'd say only do it if you have let it sit for awhile and still cannot safely remove it. Thank you for addressing the possibility there LookinAround.
  6. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    no problem.. was just a note about it as sometimes one has limited choices at just what to do when Safely Remove don't want to do it for ya!

    A couple other things i'd throw in the mix
    > See [post=753513]How to Avoid Problems with USB Storage Devices[/post] to reduce the odds of any filesystem issues
    > OpenedFilesView can sometimes be handy to see what has opened file handles to a device (though closing all explorer windows typically closes all those handles)
  7. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Oh. Another thing to add. So please forgive the double post but also wanted to be sure and highlight the following

    I believe another common reason why a device stays busy (and Safely Remove won't work) is because of background processes which run and keep the device / a file open

    > Antimalware (A/V and antispam)
    > Automated backups
    > Automated indexing services (such as Windows indexing and Google desktop)

    One might also want to also configure their indexing services to only index their non-removable devices (if they so choose)

    Oh. Which is also probably why trying Safely Remove a 2nd or more times seems to "sometimes" to work. Just as after subsequent tries and time goes by, the background service is done with the device
  8. ucould2

    ucould2 TS Guru Posts: 271

    What about logging out of the user profile and if you encounter a really long "Blue Screen" on log-out, check the Temp file for log-out process dump, (if this is not been disabled in the Services and Applications)? You may be told by Windows which application is still running (again if this process has not been disabled in the Computer Management)?
  9. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,185   +469

    You also can just shut down the PC and then disconnect the device.
    learninmypc likes this.
  10. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,130   +982

    beware of the Index Service; if it is enabled, it can be the culprit. Personally, I disable it on my laptop; waste of time, battery power, and hd space.
  11. ComputerGuy55

    ComputerGuy55 TS Maniac Posts: 380   +8

    I agree with jobeard. This service is more of a hassle then helpful.. You can simply disable it from your service's by going to:
    Right click My Computer, go to Manage click on Services and Application, Services, Windows Search.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.
  12. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    You're right. Just a typo: rt click My Computer, then Manage etc.

    And, likewise, one should also consider other indexing services (e.g. Google desktop) and other background processes as [post=881868]outlined in earlier post[/post]
  13. ComputerGuy55

    ComputerGuy55 TS Maniac Posts: 380   +8

    Thank you for the correction LookinAround, I felt I had something missing and could not seem to spot it.
  14. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    No need to explain. The above is my own long middle name! :D
  15. DLambie

    DLambie TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 83

    How do I tell what program is running my device in task bar? as not sure if I can end task them all also if I figure out what is making my device running I can maybe change setting in that program so it does not
  16. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    I don't think there's anyway to know by simply looking at taskbar (unless you spot a task you think would it have open).

    Otherwise, best to
    > Try closing all Explorer windows
    > You can try closing all tasks (or use the OpenedFilesView tool i mentioned above)

    Otherwise, take the steps (like reconfiguring index services/disable it) and in worst case shut down then remove
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