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How to Remove Storage Devices

Whenever you have a storage device, like a USB flash drive or an external hard drive, connected to your PC computer, the Windows operating system is constantly accessing the drive. As a result, simply unplugging the storage device is dangerous and can result in data loss. When you are done using a flash drive or external hard drive, you should safely eject and remove the storage device through the system tray.


If you do not safely remove your USB storage devices, your files could become corrupted.
  1. Close all open windows and programs. If you leave any programs running, Windows may be unable to remove storage devices.
  2. Click on the circular system tray button in the lower-right corner of your desktop to expand all of the system tray icons.
  3. Right-click on the icon with the green arrow and choose the "Safely Remove Hardware" option. A new window will appear with a list of the storage devices currently connected to your computer.
  4. Highlight the item that you want to remove. In most cases, it will be labeled as "USB Mass Storage Device."
  5. Press the "Stop" button at the bottom of the window.
  6. Highlight "USB Mass Storage Device" in the pop-up window again and click "OK."
  7. Wait until you receive confirmation that the storage device has been safely removed. After that, you can unplug your USB flash drive or external hard drive.

Things You Will Need

  • PC running Windows XP or later
  • USB flash drive or external hard drive

About the Author

Bennett Gavrish is an I.T. professional who has been writing about computers, electronics and the Web since 2004. His work has appeared in the "Nashua Telegraph" and the "Daily Free Press" and on numerous websites. Gavrish received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Boston University.

Photo Credits

  • usb flash drive image by Bosko Martinovic from Fotolia.com