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USB - Removing it "properly"

Emmy The Joker

New Member
There's a procedure people go through to take out the flash drives. Something like:

  1. Right click icon in bottom right
  2. "Safely remove some device" or "Eject device"
  3. then physically remove device
I've found that just jumping to "step 3" and removing the thing immediately (of course not while editing any of it's contents)... is just fine. No data is lost or... anything.

I did it in front of a group member for a project, and he called me an idiot. (lol) I plugged my drive back in and showed him all was ok. (pwned :p)

So now I ask, what is the point of "safely removing" the USB?
 

FrozenIpaq

Justin B / Supp. Editor
Staff member
Enforcer Team
Yeah, you are able to do this on most flash drives. The drives are programmed to be able to be removed quickly (without those steps being taken). There's an option that shows what your drive is configured for (quick removal or not, if not then you should go through those steps just to be safe). The other option is for "performance". When you have it configured for that you should safely remove it.

To see these options, right click on the drive in "My Computer", go to Hardware and then select "Generic Flash USB Device" then go to properties of that and click on the "Policies" tab. From here you can see what your flashdrive is configured for.

 

NoEffex

Seth's On A Boat.
On a lot of devices, they make heavily use of caching, and also they set it to write a lot of bulk data when it's safely removed.

Basically, if it uses some sort of caching, it just tells it to sync everything then unmount.
 

FrozenIpaq

Justin B / Supp. Editor
Staff member
Enforcer Team
On a lot of devices, they make heavily use of caching, and also they set it to write a lot of bulk data when it's safely removed.

Basically, if it uses some sort of caching, it just tells it to sync everything then unmount.
I haven't found that within Windows at all but I know when I ran Ubuntu I needed to remove it safely as it wouldn't write to it otherwise.
 

NoEffex

Seth's On A Boat.
I haven't found that within Windows at all but I know when I ran Ubuntu I needed to remove it safely as it wouldn't write to it otherwise.
It really just depends on the device.

On Linux it uses caching extensively, but on Windows it just depends on the device manufacturer, whether they cache or not.
 

FrozenIpaq

Justin B / Supp. Editor
Staff member
Enforcer Team
It really just depends on the device.

On Linux it uses caching extensively, but on Windows it just depends on the device manufacturer, whether they cache or not.
From the majority of drives I've used I have never had a flash drive do that in windows (and I've used dozens of them)
 

NoEffex

Seth's On A Boat.
From the majority of drives I've used I have never had a flash drive do that in windows (and I've used dozens of them)
Of course, I was just saying why it was there.

I've never had to use it on windows, but I safely remove just out of habit.

Also, the unmounting thing. When I think disconnecting without unmounting I think flying an airplane with the door open, and all hell breaks loose, because the amount of things I've fucked up doing that to. It doesn't happen often, but it only takes once or twice =/.

You don't need to safely remove usually, but if it's anything important I'd do it anyway.
 

NeilR

eXo Admin
Staff member
Enforcer Team
If you're running a lot of labor intensive tasks and also writing to an external drive such as a flash stick you can get yourself in a delayed write state where the OS thinks it's done writing to it but physically it is not. This is more of a common problem with USB 1.0. If you've ever encountered corrupt files on a stick that cannot be deleted or moved it's likely because it was not safely removed. I know as it used to happen to me a lot.
 

LocutusEstBorg

Contributor
The quick removal enabled/disabled setting in windows has nothing to do with whether all data is flushed immediately. All it does is disable write caching to the system cache for the drive for generic file system I/O. There will still be open handles and some might be with write access which could result in corruption, as programs can completely ignore the windows cache setting. Windows itself sometimes keeps open handles which it closes only on clicking safely remove.
 
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