Dear Lifehacker, Some of my computers (like my Mac) are always warning me about disconnecting flash drives without ejecting, while Windows doesn’t seem to have a problem — in fact, my external USB drive doesn’t even have an eject option. Does this mean it’s safe? How do I know when I actually need to eject a drive?Sincerely, Concerned About Corruption
This is one of those questions that has a short answer and a long answer. The short answer is this: you should probably always eject a drive before removing it, even if the context menu doesn’t have an eject option. Mac and Linux will always provide you a way to eject a drive, but like you said, sometimes Windows doesn’t have an obvious “eject” button for certain drives. On Windows, click the “Safely Remove Hardware” icon in the system tray, choose your drive from the list, and then remove it once it notifies you of its safe removal.
Now, the long answer: In Windows, you can sometimes remove a flash drive without ejecting. Here’s a bit more information on how computers deal with USB drives.
Why Computers Want You To Eject Drives
Why Windows Doesn’t Bug You To Do It
You can edit the write cache settings for any drive from the Device Manager. Just expand the Disk Drives section, right click on the drive you want to edit, and hit Properties. Go to the Policies tab, and click the “Quick Removal” radio button to disable the cache (or click “Better Performance” to enable the write cache).
Why You Should Probably Manually Eject All Your USB Drives Anyway
In the end, there’s no reason not to eject your drives, and doing so will ensure you’re USB drive’s data is uber-safe. Windows users may be less likely to experience issues due to the way Windows handles removable drives, but they aren’t 100 per cent protected. Ejecting the drive is a great habit to get into, since without it, you wouldn’t always know if it was safe to remove or not.