Safely Remove Your Hardware: Is It Really Necessary?

We're all guilty of this - you copy some files to your external drive, wait for the windows flying paper icon to disappear, then pull the device immediately. A few days later, the files are still there happily jumping hurray! 

No problem right?

People get away with it because they are confident they've waited enough before removing the drive. Anyway Windows tells us whenever it’s doing something on the flash drive and it’s off-limits.

But have you considered this scenario? You load your thumb drive and double-click the icon: “MyGreatestManuscript.doc”. You modify the file not knowing you're actually writing into the thumb drive directly. The boss enters the room: "Where is that draft?!"

You hurriedly pull the drive and give it to your boss. MSWord auto-saves at regular intervals, if at that exact second you pull the drive, goodbye document.

Well probably it won't happen. Not to you right? This is very similar to wearing seatbelts. We all know we should be doing it yet we're not doing so regularly since nothing seems to go wrong even if we don't.

However, do you know that once you plug a device into your computer, you have given your computer the power to access it whenever it wants? It can be an application that requires a drive poll, or the operating system needs to do indexing or probably you copied something and just didn't notice that you accidentally placed the progress bar behind. Too many unknowns.

Worst thing that could happen: You can end up with an unusable device or corrupted files. Would you risk it?

That's why there's this tiny button called Safely remove your hardware. Nobody can prevent a user from physically removing an external device. Windows is simply giving the option to do it safely. If it's not ready to release the drive, it will let you know.

If you must - make it a habit. It only takes a few seconds. The answer to this is the old saying: Better be safe than sorry.

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