Windows 10: 'Safely Remove' - Blocked by unknown program Solved

  1. Posts : 71
    Windows 10 Pro x64 1607 (14393.693)
       14 Dec 2016 #1

    'Safely Remove' - Blocked by unknown program

    I have three external USB-3 HDDs connected via a powered USB-3 hub. Sometimes, not always, I am blocked from unplugging the hub from the PC because a program is using at least one of the HDDs. How can I determine what is preventing the 'Safe Removal' and forcing me to shutdown the PC? I do terminate all programs I have started and I have tried using Process Explorer but it shows nothing beyond PID 4 System.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    15 Dec 2016 #2

    With a hub it's all only one device no matter how many things you have plugged in, you can safely remove whole thing only, not only one device.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  3. Posts : 71
    Windows 10 Pro x64 1607 (14393.693)
    Thread Starter
       15 Dec 2016 #3

    I think somewhere there is a miscommunication.

    I want to unplug all of the USB HDDs at the same time, therefore I use the 'Safely Remove' icon to dismount each of the HDDs. Then, when they ready, I unplug the hub.. I don't believe that it would be a good idea to just unplug the hub willy-nilly.

    What I am looking for is a means to identify what is preventing the dismount of a USB HDD.
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  4. Posts : 4,839
    Win10 Home and Pro, Win10 Insider Preview, WinXP Home Premium, Linux Mint
       15 Dec 2016 #4

    I'd open File Explorer, right-click each drive and choose Eject, should give a message when one is tried that is holding things up.
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  5. Posts : 71
    Windows 10 Pro x64 1607 (14393.693)
    Thread Starter
       15 Dec 2016 #5

    I'm sorry but that won't work. 'Eject' is not available as an option in File Explorer for my USB 3 HDDs. One way I have found to force the issue is to go into Disk Management and take the each disk offline, but that is a pain because I then have to put each disk back online when I replug them.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    15 Dec 2016 #6

    yea, that can be a tough one to figure out. Sometimes I've found OpenedFilesView helpful (displays a list of open files, file handles and the the process that has it open). But also times the tool didn't show anything that helped. fyi.. I've found some background processes don;t seem to show up in the tool

    fyi.. sometimes i've also found it to be my a/v or other real-time tool i run that's scanning files in the background. I also run CrashPlan for continuous backups. Crashplan can also keep a large file locked while it backs it up in the background. Moral: Try identifying what programs you run that scan files in the background. Try disabling them when the problem occurs. Can take a short while (maybe up to 30 seconds? don't recall for sure) before disabling has made an affect.

    Of course, there are still (many) times when i can't figure out the culprit and have to shutdown to safely remove
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  7. Posts : 7,365
    10 Home x64 (1803) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       15 Dec 2016 #7

    When I've had the 'in use' message on trying to eject USB HDD's it's almost always been Task Manager that was the program keeping them open. Closed it and I could then eject.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  • Posts : 71
    Windows 10 Pro x64 1607 (14393.693)
    Thread Starter
       16 Dec 2016 #8

    Yes, an old problem, but I only run Task manager as and when I need it. Also, it's not all three of the HDDs that are hanging, usually it's only one, often a different one everytime.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  • Posts : 71
    Windows 10 Pro x64 1607 (14393.693)
    Thread Starter
       12 Jan 2017 #9

    OK, I have solved my problem. I haven't found a way of determining what is holding the USB drives up, but I have found out what was causing my problem.

    A little background.
    I use Calibre to manage my collection of digital books, and to transfer the books to my Kindle via USB. Lately I have been in the habit of using the Calibre facilities to eject the Kindle when any transfers were done. This was the mistake. Now I have gone back to shutting down Calibre and using the 'Safely Remove' icon to eject the Kindle and the problem went away.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


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