A story as old as time – you’ve downloaded your photos or work to your USB drive and now want to delete them. If only it were that straightforward. Rather than that, you must press “Eject” before removing the USB, or else a stinging message will appear informing you that the “disk was not properly ejected,” you’ve lost everything you’ve ever stored, and the world is about to end.
Not “Ejecting” the USB Can Be Risky
Is it necessary to eject a USB drive before removing it? The quick answer is probably not, but failing to do so may expose you to a minor level of risk. In earlier versions of Windows, copying data to a USB drive required writing caching, a process in which a device does not immediately complete writing the data but instead caches some of it in your computer’s memory for eventual completion. This alleviates some of the strain on the sluggish USB (in comparison to the fast computer RAM), rather than flooding the USB with write commands, allowing applications to run more quickly without waiting for the USB drive to complete its task.
This, however, is why the eject button exists. If you remove the USB before the computer’s memory completes the procedure, you may be left with a USB that contains the data but is unreadable. Your files may become corrupted – a nightmare scenario for any college graduate.
“Rapid Removal” Feature to the Rescue
Fortunately, Microsoft abandoned its quest for maximum efficiency and realized that the majority of us simply pull out the USB when finished, which means that write caching is usually disabled by default on Windows 7 and later versions. Indeed, Windows 10 includes a “rapid removal” feature that is now enabled by default when a new disk is plugged in. This prevents Windows from writing to the flash disk indefinitely. You should verify, though, if you are a frequent premature ejector, as certain external drives have write caching.
For most of us, merely waiting until it says “complete” or a few seconds after it completes, will suffice to ensure the data is secure.