Windows 10: How to force-eject an external drive?

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  1.    12 Feb 2018 #1

    How to force-eject an external drive?


    Switching from Mac to PC has in some regard been not difficult, but there are difficult moments

    A recurring problem with pretty much all my external drives is that I frequently can't eject them because "a program is using it. " This happens even if I close all running programs, although some things must still be running in the background, including Dashlane and Avast. Using File Explorer and killing tasks does not work for me, since I have no idea which tasks are related to external hard drives.

    On the Mac I could always eject mounted drives with Disk Utility. Is there a similar feature on the PC? Based on examining the PC's features, I would think that Device Manager is similar to Disk Utility, but I do not see an "eject"/"unmount" option in there.

    I have Quick Removal set to on, so I can if I understand correctly, simply disconnect any drive anytime without fear of the drive getting corrupted. However, I see complaints in discussions that say that Quick Removal is not working as intended. I myself had to reformat a brand-new drive after just unplugging it without properly ejecting it (it just wouldn't eject).

    Is the maybe a Command Prompt solution for ejecting an external drive? Any other way?

    It is really important that I figure this out, before I get another new external drive. I don't want to find myself unable to eject the drive.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    13 Feb 2018 #2

    Hi, this can be a real annoyance- and can occur with some 3rd party programs and some windows services.

    I use a program called USB Safely Remove which can help and offers a force option after attempting ejection.

    Device Manager is primarily for managing device drivers.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    13 Feb 2018 #3

    I will look into USB Safely Remove. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Can someone please elaborate on the usefulness of Quick Remove? As I mentioned, in my own experience it does not allow for safe unplugging of an external drive. I admit that the fault may have rather been with that particular external drive, since there seem to be several problems with it.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.   My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    13 Feb 2018 #5

    I downloaded and tried USb Safely Remove. That program completely disabled Windows's Safely Remove feature, which I couldn't get to launch until I had uninstalled USB Safely Remove.

    I was hoping that USB Safely Remove would at least show me the mystery program using the drive. Supposedly there was none:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I have tried USB Disc Ejector before and it too did not work for me.

    Does this mean I'm stuck with logging out of my user account and back in or shutting down the PC? as my only remaining options?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    13 Feb 2018 #6

    USB Safely Remove usually lists programs stopping the ejection (image in URL below). In some cases these are windows processes, and occasionally forced eject does not work.

    I can't tell you what the problem is, I'm afraid.
    Make sure no file explorer windows are open accessing the device; could be some buffering.

    USB Safely Remove Features
    but it doesn't seem to cover that.

    I think you know about Quick Remove
    Quickly remove USB devices without using Safe Removal - CNET

    That program completely disabled Windows's Safely Remove feature, which I couldn't get to launch until I had uninstalled USB Safely Remove.
    There is this option:
    Click image for larger version. 

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      My ComputerSystem Spec


  7. Posts : 6,433
    10 Home x64 (1709) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       13 Feb 2018 #7

    dalchina said: View Post
    ...I can't tell you what the problem is, I'm afraid.
    Make sure no file explorer windows are open accessing the device; could be some buffering....
    One process that you may not expect to prevent ejecting an external HDD is Task Manager. I often have to close it before I can eject an HDD.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  •    13 Feb 2018 #8

    Again, Quick Remove does not seem to always work without creating problems with the drive. I would like to know more about this, though.

    File Explorer and Task Manager were definitely nor running when the drive failed to eject.

    I am unsure about Avast (free version). Does or does it not affect external drives? Is there a way to temporarily disable Avast altogether, or do I have to end Avast Service, Behavior Shield, and Anti-Virus individually via the Task Manager?

    On my Mac computers, Indexing always prevented me from ejecting drives. Mostly because Indexing takes hours. So I disabled Indexing for external drives and had no longer any problems, I checked the Indexing Options in Windows. The only options are Internet Explorer History, Start Menu, Users. There is no mention of indexing either the inbuilt drive or external drives.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  • Posts : 13,759
    Windows 10 Pro
       13 Feb 2018 #9

    This is not a solution per se, just a workaround. Its usability depends on the boot / shut down times of your PC:

    On computers that boot up and shut down fast, I've noticed that it is often faster, easier and more nerve saving simply to shut down computer, disconnect the external drive in question, and restart.

    Kari
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  • Posts : 4,492
    Win10 Home and Pro, Win10 Insider Preview, Win7 Home, Linux Mint
       13 Feb 2018 #10

    Kari said: View Post
    This is not a solution per se, just a workaround. Its usability depends on the boot / shut down times of your PC:

    On computers that boot up and shut down fast, I've noticed that it is often faster, easier and more nerve saving simply to shut down computer, disconnect the external drive in question, and restart.

    Kari
    Me too. Most times it's with a USB Thumb/Flash drive. And don't discount an antivirus or antimalware program holding things up.

    On my MacBook Pro [which finally died] it usually worked to drag the drive icon from the desktop to the Trash basket.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


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