This is one of those topics that always divides a room and it’s easy to understand why. Safely removing a USB device from your computer, especially flash drives is painfully slow and in the scheme of things seems pretty pointless. Ninety percent of the time or more, you will get away with removing your device without any consequences, the other times, well, you might be in for a world of heartache. This guide aims to shed some light on why you may want to consider safely removing your USB devices in the future. At least the storage devices.


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USB connections and devices have been around since the mid-1990’s and apart from the annoying connection “Two ways to Plugin, takes three tries” they are invaluable. With so many different devices coming with a USB connection, it’s hard to know which ones you should safely remove and which ones you don’t really need too. Below are a few reasons why safely removing a USB device is a good habit to get into.


Why You Should Safely Remove USB Devices.

So we have established how annoying it is to safely remove a USB device, now we need to establish why you should spend the extra time doing so.

  • If this doesn’t convince you to safely remove your USB device, then there is no convincing you. The number one reason you should safely remove your USB device is to protect the data on it from being lost or corrupted. As we mentioned earlier, 9 times out of 10 you can remove a device without any issue, however, this does come with risks. You never know when your data will be corrupted or lost. For other devices that do not contain data such as headphones webcams and keyboards, you can continue to remove them without any worries about them being damaged. Just double check the manufacturer's suggestions when you first open your device to make sure.
  • USB flash drives and external hard drives connected via USB need power use a small amount of power and if they are suddenly disconnected can actually physically damage the device. Again there goes all your data. 

How to Safely Remove USB Devices.

As annoying and slow as it is, safely removing a USB device doesn’t actually take that much time. Three seconds should do it on average. If you’ve never safely removed a USB device before you can follow the steps below.

  • In the bottom right-hand corner of your taskbar locate the USB device logo. (you may need to click the little upward pointing arrow to expand the icon list first)
  • Once you have found it, click Safely Remove Hardware.
  • If you have more than one USB device connected you will need to choose the one you wish to disconnect.
  • When the device or the icon disappears from the taskbar, you can physically remove your device from the computer.


The worst part of this process is breaking any old habits you may have. Just remember you have spent ages gathering the data on your device, so why risk losing it all because you didn’t want to spend a few more seconds removing your device safely. Perhaps in future Windows will create an official keyboard shortcut that can be used to safely remove a USB device.