How can I see which program is using my USB Key?

  1. Posts : 29
    Windows 10

    How can I see which program is using my USB Key?

    I sometimes get the message:
    "This device is currently in use. Close any programs or windows that might be using the device, and then try again."

    I sometimes worry this might be malicious software. I constantly have an anti-virus running, and I regularly scan for viruses. No anomalies in sight, so I'm only half worried. On another hand, I do use quite a few 3rd party software.

    There are no programs open on the Taskbar that are using the USB Key. Manually going through the Task Manager is too tedious (too many "Service Host:...").

    Is there a way, or perhaps, would there be a 3rd party software that can easily show which processes are using a USB Key or an External Drive?

    I'm using Windows 10 Home, Version 22H2, OS Build 19045.2728.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 17,008
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 22H2 Build 19045.4170

    Some applications open temporary files on the USB when you open a file on it.
    Some of them forget to close their temporary files when you close the file. MSOffice Word used to be a common offender but I believe it is better-behaved nowadays.
    Unclosed temporary files would cause the "This device is currently in use." message.

    I do not know of anything that would "easily" reveal references to your USB drive.
    MS SysInternals Process Monitor does nothing "easily".
    I suppose there might be a NirSoft tool but their USBDeview does not help with this particular issue. Their OpenedFilesView might help but I'm not sure.

    All the best,
      My Computer

  3. Posts : 29
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    This is actually pretty awesome. Thank you!
    I will definitely check it out.
      My Computer

  4. Posts : 6,907
    22H2 64 Bit Pro

    Or else use a program that can "find handles" and close them.

    How can I see which program is using my USB Key?-process-hacker.jpg

    Downloads - Process Hacker
      My Computer

  5. Posts : 1,679

    Try "Lock Hunter".

    Right-click on any drive, file, or folder. It will show every program lock that object.

    Here's what's locking my C: drive ...

    How can I see which program is using my USB Key?-snip.jpg
      My Computer

  6. Posts : 43,182
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)

    I really like this one:
    How can I see which program is using my USB Key?-untitled.png

    USB Safely Remove
    - neatly integrated, good options.
      My Computers

  7. Posts : 282
    Windows 10 Pro
      My Computer

  8. Posts : 2,962
    Windows 10 Pro for the Bro

    Yep. Post #5. I was going to recommend that app as well. You do right click on your USB, and select this:
    How can I see which program is using my USB Key?-image.png

    And you will get a window just like in post number 5 above. Your USB device will NOT have so many entries though. It will have probably only one thing that's locking it. If you'd like, take a screenshot of that, and post it here and ask for assistance about it, unless you know what app is open, then you can close off that app, and you won't get the message that the USB device is busy.

    Hey mar, what do you think would happen if we unlock our C: drive? hahaha. I'd assume BSOD. I don't wanna try it though...
    ...unless that app's developer has programmed the app to say: You cannot unlock your C: drive.
      My Computer

  9. Posts : 29
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Oh Wow! This is pretty sweet! Thank you!
      My Computer


  Related Discussions
Our Sites
Site Links
About Us
Windows 10 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 10" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

© Designer Media Ltd
All times are GMT -5. The time now is 20:28.
Find Us

Windows 10 Forums