Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Disks and Mass Storage
Read the article that everyone's commenting on.
In my case it was almost always search indexer (on XP).
Since I've upgraded to Windows 7 a couple of weeks ago, I have never had any trouble ejecting anything.
So far so good :-)
In my case the icon doesn't disappear, but now when I click it and then click the volume to be stopped (such as my external Drive) I now never get a note saying it's safe to remove. The only thing that happens is the icon will move positions or blink. How do I get back the "safe to remove" notation?
The original question mentioned a 1TB external drive with "hundreds of important files on it". To be perfectly safe in that situation, you can always Shutdown (not Hibernate, or Sleep, or Standby, or even Restart) Windows. Once the system powers off you can safely remove the external drive, since in the process of shutting down, Windows will terminate all processes, close all files, and post any buffered writes to all drives.
I encounter this problem nearly every time I connect a FLASH drive or USB hard drive to my Vista laptop. I have never been able to identify the offending process, but having read this article I will have Process Explorer at the ready the next time it happens. Oddly, this never seems to happen to camera memory cards when I insert them into the builtin card reader on that laptop, even though I cannot imagine how they are treated differently -- they look like just another external drive otherwise.
I had the same problem, and did what you suggested, worked perfectly.
Thanks for the tips, specially for the Process Explorer recommendation, finally I can liberate my external drive from the evil clutch of Windows.
This happens often for me, especially since I DON'T keep anything on my local drive, everything is on externals.
I simply "restart" my computer, allow it to go through it's startup routine, loading antivirus, then click "safely remove hardware" and it works.
Kind of a long way to do it, but gives me peace of mind that all my saved data will be SAFE.
I've corrupted a WD Passport external drive before by disconnecting prematurely so this is the ONLY method I use if what's on the drive is important to me.
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