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Safely Remove Hardware Malfunctions with External USB Hard Drives

    Question

  • Hi,

    When I attempt to Safely Remove an external USB HDD, I get the message that it can't be "Safely Removed" as it is in use...

    The only thing using the drive is Safely Remove Hardware...

    If I boot the computer with the drive attached and turned on, Safely Remove Hardware works properly. This problem only happens when the drive is attached\turned on after Win 8.1 is running...

    Thursday, November 28, 2013 1:36 AM

Answers

  • Hi,

    I think I have found the problem... kind of by luck..

    I run Taskmanager with windows. In Win 7 it started automatically when placed in the Startup folder.

    This doesn't work in Win 8\8.1. It has to be started manually, or as a scheduled task. I start it manually. I use this primarily for the CPU icon on the Taskbar.

    Taskmanager appears to be causing the problem with "Safely Removing Hardware" for a USB Drive when either copying to the drive, or deleting a file from the drive... If Taskmanager is not started, everything works properly.

    There is also a secondary problem on my machine with SpeefFan 4.47 and 4.49... I also used to start SpeedFan by placing it in the Startup folder, but like Taskmanager, this no longer works. It has to be started manually.

    SpeedFan prevents Safely Remove Hardware from working after deleting a file on the USB drive, and generates the Device In Use message like Taskmanager.

    SpeedFan doesn't cause a problem with anything other than after deleting a file, unlike Taskmanager that has issues with both copying AND deleting.

    The question then becomes... Why does Taskmanager cause this problem, as well as SpeedFan, when this was not a problem on Win 7.


    Monday, December 02, 2013 7:27 PM

All replies

  • System may use external disk. Use Process Explorer to pinpoint the causing processes. (backup, restore,... ?)

    Regards

    Milos

    Thursday, November 28, 2013 9:12 PM
  • Hi,

    I'm not quite sure what you mean... My System Restore is disbaled for all drives, and I have no kind of backup software of any type that is using the drive...

    I simply plug it in, do what I need to do, and eject it... This happens on two different machines, and both machines work perfectly when running Win 7 Pro x64

    I wouldn't have a clue as what to look for in Process Explorer... Most things there are not listed in a way I can associate it with the external hard drive..

    Friday, November 29, 2013 1:09 AM
  • Hi,

    What Milos means is when you encounter this problem, you may check Task Manager, expand Windows Explorer process, you may find the USB drive status. if there is any process relate to it, try to end them and retry to unplug USB drive for test.

    In my opinion, this problem also can be caused by driver or 3rd program. please try to uninstall USB driver in Device Manager for test.

    In addition, please perform a Clean Boot to check whether this problem caused by 3rd program or service. Refer to the link below for more details.

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929135


    Roger Lu
    TechNet Community Support

    Friday, November 29, 2013 3:01 AM
  • Hi,

    Thanks for the reply... When I do a Clean Boot, there is no change....

    I did notice something strange in Task Manager and Windows Explorer...

    There is nothing to expand... just explorer. However, when I attempt to Safely Remove after copying a file to, or deleting an existing from the USB drive, Windows Explorer completely disappears from Task Manager Processes.

    After a period of 1 to 15 seconds, it reappears. Sometimes Safely Remove will then work, but I usually get the same error... Disk In Use, of some form...

    This is happening on USB ports that are using Microsoft's Win 8.1 default drivers.

    BTW... This is happening on two different machines with different controllers (both Intel)... The only thing they have in common is the error and Microsoft 8.1 drivers.

    Friday, November 29, 2013 9:27 AM
  • The question is if we solve the real problem. Look into properties of external disk (my behaves exactly as yours):

    This means that we can disconnect external disk without penalty. (I am afraid that I am not brave enough as there are very importand data inside my "external memory")

    Regards

    Milos

    Friday, November 29, 2013 6:12 PM
  • Hi,

    My USB drives are configured as in your image by Win 8.1 default settings... Quick Removal.

    I switched it to "Better Performance", and it made no difference, except that it takes longer for the external drive light to stop blinking... However, after switching back to "Quick Removal", I can now copy a file to the drive and Safely Remove" it properly...

    I still get the "Drive In Use" error after deleting a file though. A little bit of improvement...

    I don't look forward to having to do this to at least 12 drives. Especially since it is only going to solve 1\2 the problem, at best.

    Friday, November 29, 2013 8:48 PM
  • Hello Again...

    Just wanted to let you know that I was mistaken about toggling the "Quick Removal" and "Better Performance" settings... It made absolutely no difference...

    The reason I thought something had changed is because I had booted the computer with the drive attached and powered on and hadn't noticed, until I did a retest...

    Sunday, December 01, 2013 1:34 AM
  • Hi,

    I think I have found the problem... kind of by luck..

    I run Taskmanager with windows. In Win 7 it started automatically when placed in the Startup folder.

    This doesn't work in Win 8\8.1. It has to be started manually, or as a scheduled task. I start it manually. I use this primarily for the CPU icon on the Taskbar.

    Taskmanager appears to be causing the problem with "Safely Removing Hardware" for a USB Drive when either copying to the drive, or deleting a file from the drive... If Taskmanager is not started, everything works properly.

    There is also a secondary problem on my machine with SpeefFan 4.47 and 4.49... I also used to start SpeedFan by placing it in the Startup folder, but like Taskmanager, this no longer works. It has to be started manually.

    SpeedFan prevents Safely Remove Hardware from working after deleting a file on the USB drive, and generates the Device In Use message like Taskmanager.

    SpeedFan doesn't cause a problem with anything other than after deleting a file, unlike Taskmanager that has issues with both copying AND deleting.

    The question then becomes... Why does Taskmanager cause this problem, as well as SpeedFan, when this was not a problem on Win 7.


    Monday, December 02, 2013 7:27 PM
  • Hi,

    Actually I still doubt that Task Manager infulence "Safely Removing Hardware", it seems like impossible. You can try to use Process Explore to analyze more details of Task Manager thread. Please access to the link below to download Process Explore:

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896653.aspx

    In addition, I noticed that SpeefFan support  Windows 8, but it may not sure it is compatibility with Windows 8.1.


    Roger Lu
    TechNet Community Support

    Sunday, December 08, 2013 2:56 PM
  • Hi,

    Thanks for the reply... I have recently stopped some Intel processes that were loading at start, and retested the "Safely Remove Hardware" for any changes... There were none.

    I'm using the Process Explorer in your link. It shows 13 threads for Taskmanager, all of which are listed as some kind of "User Wait". But I know nothing about the meaning of what I see.

    The only thing that caught my attention is that when I connected the USB drive to the machine, a thread 2192 appeared briefly in red, and then vanished.

    As far as Speedfan goes... It only causes a problem when Deleting a file from the USB drive prior to removing it, and this Safely Remove Hardware problem also happens in Win 8.

    Sunday, December 08, 2013 10:33 PM
  • Hi,

    It is normal when a thread appeared red and vanished. It reflect a thread created and released.

    Did you create any other schedule task that may influence USB drive resources? After you connect USB drive to computer, you can check Process Monitor, double click USB drive thread, View its thread details, May be we can found some clues.


    Roger Lu
    TechNet Community Support

    Monday, December 09, 2013 2:49 AM
  • Hi,

    I can't even find a USB drive listed in Process Explorer or the Taskmanager threads... Am I looking in the wrong place?

    The only scheduled task that is active, other than any default windows processes is CORE TEMP, which it installed. I disabled the task, and rebooted... this made no difference.

    Monday, December 09, 2013 4:47 PM