how to safely eject a flash drive or external usb drive (+ why there might be a “this device may run faster” notification)

eject disc

User Question


I want to disconnect the external drive normally (using the taskbar icon), but at the same time a message pops up that the device is still in use. No program works with my disk, everything is closed.

How do you know what’s wrong? And how to turn off the disk at all, so that no files are lost later and there are no errors.

Good day!

In most cases, this warning occurs for the following reasons:

  • there are program, which still uses disk. It may not be visible on your desktop – however, in task manager its process probably “hangs” 👀;
  • errors and failures in the work of the explorer;
  • some versions of Windows may “think” they are working with a non-removable drive (this applies to old operating system and disks with a file system NTFS).

soLet’s try to figure it all out! // in order


Device still in use - eject disc - Windows 11 ||  example of a problem

Fig. 1. Device still in use – eject disc – Windows 11 || example of a problem


The content of the article

What to do if a device usage notification appears


Of course, you must first close all programs that worked with the disc.

Most often this: torrents (Utorrent, Mediaget, etc.), browsers, MS Office, explorer (file copy), antivirus…


If you have Windows 10/11, try 📌 open system settings (Win+i), tab “Bluetooth and devices / Devices” and forcibly remove the disc/flash drive from the system.

Force device

Rice. 2. Expelled. device

Then, if “our” notification about using the device appears again (when you try to remove it) – try to immediately open the event log 📌 in Windows (Win+R, eventvwr).

In this magazine in the tab “system” you can view all the latest events: including disk deactivation details. Look carefully at the events with the “Kernel-PnP” source. See the example in fig. 2. 👇

In my case, the process with ID 19132 “interfered”…

A blocked application has been detected.  disk

Rice. 3. Found a blocked application. disk

Next in the 📌 Task Manager in the tab “Details” you can sort all processes by their identifier and find the one preventing the drive from disconnecting. In my case, the “culprit” was the Chrome browser (saved the html page to disk…).

Closing it – the disk was safely ejected… 👌

Application found!

Rice. 4. App found!



If the process could not be found or the “link” led to “system” – you can try simply restarting explorer (in most cases this shouldn’t pose a “threat” to the disk, but it may fix the problem).


How to do:

  1. Option 1: run 📌command prompt as administrator, type taskkill /F /IM explorer.exe & start explorer and press Enter;
  2. Option 2: find the process in the 📌 task manager “Driver” Where “Explorer”right click on it and select from the menu “restart”. See fig. 4. 👇
Task Manager - Restart File Explorer - Windows 11

Rice. 5. Task Manager – Restart File Explorer – Windows 11



If you often encounter a similar problem with external drives, I recommend that you take a closer look at the USB Safely Remove utility (link to the official site, see the figure below).

first of allit is much more convenient than Windows built-in tools and displays the “interfering” application. Secondly, allows a forced and safe stop. devices (even keyboard shortcuts). Thirdlysupports most devices: USB, SATA, FireWire, PCMCIA.

USB Safely Remove - utility screenshot

Rice. 6. USB Safely Remove – utility screenshot

Besides, in some cases, formatting the disk to the exFAT file system helps to solve the problem drastically. Compared to NTFS, it has several. advantages (specifically in relation to our topic): first of allWindows does not consider it a fixed disk, as it does with NTFS; Secondlyit loads the disc less with service information (which is useful for flash drives – they will last longer).


To note: When formatting a disk, all data on it will be deleted! If you are going to use this disk/flash drive not only on PC but also to login. to TVs/set-top boxes – check if they support the exFAT system…


To format the disk, just open “My computer”, right-click on the disk and in the menu that appears, specify the exFAT file system – click OK. If you can’t format the disk using this method, you can do it 📌 using a BAT (command line) file.

Format to ExFAT

Rice. 7. Format to ExFAT


STEP 4: Regarding the message that the device can run faster

This message appears if you log in USB 3.0 flash drive (for example) to a USB port that supports 2.0 (i.e. if you have 3.0 ports on your PC and connect this drive to them, the read/write speed may increase, sometimes quite significantly!).

To see all external drives/flash drives connected to the system: click Win + Rand enter the command control printers. Then, by selecting a disk, you will find out if it can run faster… 👇

📌 To help!

The USB port is slow (files are copied from the flash drive for a long time). How to know which USB 2.0 and which 3.0 ports –

Example: the device can run faster

Rice. 8. Sample notification: “The device may run faster when connected to a USB 3.0 port”


Other opinions are welcome in the comments!

Good luck!


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