Removing An External Device Safely
As an i-café owner, how many times had you been approached by a customer asking that his USB drive be tested because it appears to be broken after using it in one of your workstations? After inserting the customer’s USB drive in your server, you confirmed that it is really broken. In a typical scenario, your customer may just accept that he lost not only a not-so expensive tool but also the valuable data contained in it. Good for you if that would be the attitude of the customer. I had experienced and heard stories of customers asking for money to cover the damages they incurred in such unfortunate situations. This is not a rare scene in an i-café and the damage could be due to viruses that the device had while in use in your workstation which is curable (the device and its content can be saved), the USB drive just went kaput or the customer failed to remove the device safely.
There are some people I talk to who believe that in removing or unplugging an external device (USB drive included), it is not necessary that the “Safely Remove Hardware” be used. They say they just take them out without clicking the necessary icon in the system tray and so far, they have not damaged any external device doing so. Should we follow their advice or do what Microsoft wants us to do when removing or unplugging an external device? For me, I say, better safe than sorry. If that is how the developer designed the software to work, why should we, as mere users violate their recommended procedure.
The reason why many i-café customers fail to safely unplug their external devices from a workstation could be because they do not see any icon labeled “safely remove hardware” right in the desktop. The icon for such process is normally hidden in the system tray of a workstation. This article will guide you in putting an icon similar to the image above, a shortcut icon for removing an external device safely. Below is the procedure on how to create “Safely Remove Hardware” shortcut in your desktop.
A) Right-click on the desktop and select New then Shortcut.
B) On the Create Shortcut window that will open type “RunDll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL hotplug.dll” without the quotes in the space provided for then click Next.
C) On the Select a Title for the Program window that will open type Safely Remove Hardware then click Finish.
If you want to change the image on the shortcut that you have just made, do the following:
1) Right-click the icon and choose Properties.
2) On the Safely Remove Hardware Properties window that will open, click Change Icon button at the bottom.
3) If you do not see the images on the Change Icon window that will open, enter %SystemRoot%\system32\SHELL32.dll on the space provided for then click Browse.
4) Select an icon from the many images that will be displayed in the window then click OK.
There you go, a shortcut for “Safe;y Remove Hardware” right on your desktop. Do not forget to tell your customers to use it and so with you. The external devices (USB drive, digital camera, external hard disk, etc.) that you will save maybe your own.
The reason, based on my studies, for the option to “safely remove hardware” is because of caching.
There is actually a setting on the hardware properties to either “Optimize for Quick Removal”. This setting will disable write caching on the drive (USB drive if in case), so you can disconnect the device without using the Safe Removal icon (copied from the description of the option). If this is the setting for your USB drives, then, there is no need to do a Safely Remove this Device.
However, if the option selected is “Optimize for Performance”, then write caching is enabled. And you have to do safe removal before unplugging the USB drive. With caching, data is not immediately written on the storage device. So unplugging without doing safe removal will / may result to loss of data.
But it will never cause any problem on the drive itself (hardware). The only thing that will be affected is the data/storage and it will not destroy your USB storage.
.-= dodimar´s last blog ..Breaking Point =-.
Thank you very much for the information, dodimar. Not knowing whether the device is set for quick removal, it is still better to go through the procedure to make sure that data will not be lost. Anyway, as I said, better safe than sorry.
Yup… Honestly, though my settings for usb drives are on non-caching mode. I always do a safe removal. I use a software USB Disc Ejector since sometimes I have multiple USB drives plugged in at the same time.
Well after I insert my USB in my PC it gives a small icon the system tray in the bottom right corner and after I am finished using it I just right click and then do safely remove hardware
Thank you, Neo. I said that in the article but many customers in i-cafés may not know nor notice that; hence, my advice to put a shortcut on the desktop. If an i-café have such shortcut on their workstations, the customer cannot say that it’s the fault of the establishment if they lose their data or their USB drives get broken for not removing them safely.
Yep, pulling it out is really not going to damage the hardware. The problem may be when they’ve pulled it out when it’s still writing to the device. If it’s just sitting there idle, there should be no problem.
Lol! Well, to be fair the 486 was only my first PC!
My first computer worthy of the name, at least 10 years previous, was a Sharp MZ80k, with a massive 48Kilobytes* of RAM, a 10″black and white screen and a built in tape deck. I had a version of BASIC on tape, which I loaded in as an OS.
Pretty cool that thing was.
*Which was massive at the time, really.
Thanks for sharing this post is really great for business and student. We store and safe for huge important data. Removing an external device safely is great.
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