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Re; Safely Remove Hardware?

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Re; Safely Remove Hardware?

In this day of USB Plug & Play is there really a necessity to click the Safely Remove Hardware button?
I have Eight USB internal hard drives two of which (PATA) are in external cases and one (SATA) is in a docking station. All three are connected by USB and have their own power supplies.
Am I likely to lose data or even damage a drive simply by turning off the power to each? Obviously I close any application that may have been accessing any or all of the drives before turning the power off.
Thanks

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Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear - Mark Twain
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12 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,850
Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Re; Safely Remove Hardware?

always safely remove.  it allows the system to exit gracefully.  often data is stored up and written in one go at the end of a session to help prolong the life of the flash drive.
for those dual booting with linux, it's been reported that when not safely removed when in windows means that linux cannot find it.  the solution is to reboot into windows, plug in the drive, safely remove and then linux will see it.
similarly, use software eject with cds/dvds.  it lets the system know what's going on and prevents errors the next time the drive is used.
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Re: Re; Safely Remove Hardware?

A lot depends on the settings for the drive etc if its a hard drive then it may be set to do a lazy write which means it doesnt write data back straight away but waits for the system to be idle. If you pull it out without removing it then the data wont be written to the drive. Pen drives are generally ok.
Its naturally safer to do a safety remove
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Re: Re; Safely Remove Hardware?

Thanks for the tips.
My basic concern was not about data loss more about hard drive damage which hasn't been mentioned.
But I think I will use the 'Safely remove...' from now on.
Cheers.

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Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear - Mark Twain
He who feared he would not succeed sat still

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Re: Re; Safely Remove Hardware?

Having recently had to painfully recover files from a trashed flash drive I inadvertently disconnected incorrectly I now click 'Safely Remove Hardware' every time.

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Re: Re; Safely Remove Hardware?

The thing is the remove safely option is there for a reason. Yes you can just pull the plug but you'll not only damage data you'll be powering down the drive in an unexpected way which the drive wasn't designed for.
Its not hard work to click a mouse button a few times is it.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
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Re: Re; Safely Remove Hardware?

I was just wondering...
If I am powering down the PC (rarely done) do I still have to click 'Safely remove hardware" first or are the necessary routines invoked by XP SP3 automatically at this stage?

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Denzil
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Re: Re; Safely Remove Hardware?

The PC should sort itself out and finish off any outstanding write operations when you do a shut down, so you don't need to 'Safely Remove' first. Whether you trust Windows to always do it is another matter Cool
StickyMick
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Posts: 325
Registered: 29-11-2008

Re: Re; Safely Remove Hardware?

A right click and "Eject" in "My Computer" does the same thing. As far as I can gather, Safely Remove was only implemented to avoid you pulling the flash drive before the file system had finished writing data to it, or if you're using it to run an application like Firefox Portable or Open Office Portable. But with the majority of drives now having access activity lights you can monitor it yourself.
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Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Re; Safely Remove Hardware?

drive activity lights are not a reliable indicator.
pjemmanuel
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Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Re; Safely Remove Hardware?

Assuming you use Windows, and assuming XP although I think a similar feature is available in Vista as well: -

  • Go to Control Panel->System->Hardware->Device Manager.
  • Select the hard drive in the device manager list, right click and select properties.

  • In the properties box, click the Policies tab. In this tab ensure "Optimize for quick removal" is checked. If this is checked, write caching is disabled and this means you don't need to use the Safe Removal icon.

  • Repeat for all the relevant drives.

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Re: Re; Safely Remove Hardware?

Hi Phil_E
But wouldn't that slow down disc access times when saving/loading files?
I suppose it a trade-off between the two.

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pjemmanuel
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Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Re; Safely Remove Hardware?

Yes it will slow down write access, read access shouldn't be affected.
I suppose you have to decide which is more important - "faster writing to the disk" and I've deliberately put that in quotes because cached writes still have to be really written out, or secure data.
Personally, having secure data is much more important than saving a few seconds now and again. I've always made a point of turning off write caching on hard drives - when I tell the computer to save something, I really mean I want it done now, and not when the OS gets around to it.... Wink