Justin Garrison
August 9, 2011

When Should You Properly “Eject” Your Thumb Drive?

Posted on August 9, 2011  •  7 minutes  • 1385 words

When do you safely remove a device? Some users put caution to the wind and yank out any device, while others perform religious rituals every time. Here are some tips and guidelines for practicing safe drive removal.

Removable storage has been around as long as the personal computer and safely removing or “ejecting” drives is something that OS X and Linux users are very familiar with. Whenever an external storage device is plugged into those operating system it becomes mounted to a location, and if you just pull it out without warning your OS, typically you receive a nasty warning saying you may have just lost all your data.


In Windows, however, drive mounting is different. It doesn’t always require you to safely remove a device and rarely does it send out nastygram popups when you remove a device without warning. At most, you may get a popup the next time you plug in the device asking you to scan and fix the drive .

So how can you know when you should eject a drive before unplugging it? Here are some never, always, and sometimes situations to consider.

Never Eject

Let’s start with the easy scenarios first; devices you never need to eject before removing. This includes the following:


Always Eject

On the other end of the spectrum are storage devices that you should make a habit out of safely ejecting every time you remove it. This includes:


Because it is sometimes a pain to eject a drive, here are two how-tos for creating a shortcut or hotkey to quickly eject your drive(s). Create a shortcut using disk ejector  or create a shortcut using built in functionality .

Sometimes Eject

The drives that are left are the typical USB flash drives you probably carry in your pocket all the time. Here are some guidelines and tips to follow before removal.

By default Windows sets removable storage devices to allow for quick removal. This means you should be able to just pull the drive from the system so long as it is not in use. There are still a couple situations you may want to consider though.


Follow me

Here's where I hang out in social media