NTFS formatted USB drive cannot be safely removed - use exFAT?

  1. Posts : 33

    NTFS formatted USB drive cannot be safely removed - use exFAT?

    I have a problem with NTFS formatted USB thumbdrives which often gets the "cannot be safely removed" error when I try to eject the drive. The thumbdrive in device manager is set to quick removal policy by default so I don't have to change it but I still keep running into this problem. From what I've heard its a problem with the journalling on NTFS which wasn't designed for removable thumbdrives.

    1. I usually just close all the windows and unplug the USB thumbdrive, would it cause any problems?
    2. Do exFAT thumbdrives face this issue?
    3. The same problem also appears with my USB docking station (also quick removal policy on by default) for harddrives. I'm not 100% sure but I think unplugging the usb cable after ejecting the drive seems to help. Is that normal?
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 30,451
    Windows 11 Pro x64 Version 23H2

    Hi benedict.

    I have the same issue and I've noticed it happens on larger USB keys, 32GB and above. More on Win 8.1 & Win 10 than 7 butt still happens on Win 7.

    I just confirm I'm not using and then click "Continue".

    The exFat file system as I understand it does not carry the same file info / permissions that the NTFS system does. Exactly how different they are I have never investigated. How much of this info is really needed for each file type is user dependent.

    When I disconnect HDD's that are attached through enclosures I put my device to sleep. Overkill, yes, but I want to be sure especially as most of the time these are backups.

      My Computer

  3. Posts : 14,216
    Win10 Pro and Home, Win11 Pro and Home, Win7, Linux Mint

    Drives formatted as exFAT can be used on Windows, Macintosh and Linux Operating Systems. Thumb drives usually come formatted as FAT32 which is okay on the same systems but Windows cannot natively format/reformat as FAT32 larger than 32GB. When I have a need to change to get the NTFS-support for files of 4.1GB and larger I use a Linux Mint machine and the GPARTED program in it or a GPARTED bootable CD made from an .iso file that is freely downloadable. The exFAT drives can also accommodate large files. My latest WDC 4TB USB HDD came formatted as exFAT, works fine and seems a little faster in file transfers than a 2TB NTFS drive, both USB 3.0.
      My Computers


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