May 20, 2017

Do I really have to Safely Remove my USB drive?

USB drives, flash drives, thumb drives— whatever you call it, this little piece of technology is undeniably one of mankind’s greatest inventions. We’ve come a long way from storing .doc files in diskettes of varying colors, each stored in clear plastic cases. File storage is now easily taken for granted because of the seemingly limitless amount of space offered by USB drives. Unfortunately, the technological advancement they offer come at a price. Because of their widespread availability and proven durability, people have overlooked the fact that these helpful gadgets still need some TLC.

Why do I have to Safely Remove my USB drive?

You’re probably guilty of not ejecting your USB drive properly. See those pop-up warnings that show up whenever you yank out your flash drive off the port? They’re there for a reason.

Photo courtesy of BetaNews

Whenever you mount your USB drive, various softwares gain access to the files stored in them. Your antivirus, your operating system, your firewall—all these work hand-in-hand to ensure that the contents of your USB drive stay safe and intact. If the USB drive gets disconnected without warning, there is a high chance that its contents will end up getting corrupted. Ignoring the “safely remove hardware” option not only puts your files at risk; it can also mess up your computer’s data.

Photo courtesy of Life Hacker

There is a process called “windows caching”. It happens when a computer detects an external memory transfer taking place in the system. It means that the operating system waits for the file transfer to finish before it starts working on the requests it has to fulfill simultaneously. Mac OS users usually fall victim to this because their drives cache write automatically. This doesn’t mean that Windows users can just start pulling off USB drives heedlessly—have you encountered those “file in use” pop-ups in the rare moments that you remember to eject your USB drive properly? Imagine yanking it out with a file currently running in the background.

Photo courtesy of Windows 8 Forums


Technology changes and improves by the minute. However, that doesn’t give us the license to live recklessly. Always be careful when using any type of modern equipment or accessory, including USB drives. You wouldn’t want to lose your hard-earned data because of negligence, would you?