Windows Is Giving Up on Getting You to 'Safely Remove' USB Drives

Illustration for article titled Windows Is Giving Up on Getting You to 'Safely Remove' USB Drives
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On Windows, at least, the era of living on the edge by recklessly ripping out your USB devices appears to be coming to an end.


Windows 10 version 1809 has updated the operating system’s default setting for USB and Thunderbolt-enabled external devices. In past versions of Windows, the default setting was “Better performance,” which enabled write caching on external devices, but required the “Safely Remove Hardware” process before ejecting them. The latest version of Windows has changed the default to “Quick removal,” meaning you can rip that thing out of your computer without tempting the computer gods.

Microsoft has said in the past that in order to avoid losing or corrupting potentially sensitive data, ejecting the device and waiting for the “Safe to Remove Hardware” prompt is the way to go. This is, generally, good practice. But if convenience is your jam, the new default setting basically keeps the device on the ready for quick removal.

The downside, according to Microsoft, is that “Quick removal” may “degrade system performance” by not allowing for write caching. As ZDNet noted, overwriting the new default setting and reverting back to “Better performance” may still be the way to go for folks who are moving large or important files over to a drive. Per Microsoft, here’s how to do that:

1. Connect the device to the computer.

2. Right-click Start, and then select File Explorer.

3. In File Explorer, identify the letter or label that is associated with the device (for example, USB Drive (D:)).

4. Right-click Start, and then select Disk Management.

5. In the lower section of the Disk Management window, right-click the label of the device, and then click Properties.

6. Select Policies, and then select the policy you want to use.

Digital Trends noted that version 1809 should be automatically updated. However, if it is not, you should definitely make sure you’re running the latest version and the setting has changed before you start yanking USBs with abandon.

[Microsoft via ZDNet]



as someone who’s been using computers long before there was something called usb, i always treated usb media just like floppy disks: as soon as the read/write light stops blinking i can rip them out. never had a problem with that.