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Not able to eject the external hard drive safely

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I would go through the shutdown routine, but only as a last resort.  As David stated, something has a file / handle open on that device, and even the process of a normal shutdown might corrupt data if it force closes the application that is using the file / handle before it completes what needs to be done.

Once the computer is off, though, fivealive is correct in saying that you could then disconnect your device.  But there is no guarantee that there will not be corruption, so, if you can, you are probably better off waiting and trying again later on.

Edited by John L. Galt
Fixed typographical errors
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If one does a Formal Shutdown, the OS and all applications will release all File Handles that were held open.

If one does a reboot, it is possible that what opened a File Handle on the removable media may do it again before or when you logon.  Therefore if one chooses to reboot, I suggest removing the media once you see the BIOS or system Splash Screen.  That will signal the OS has completely been closed and is now in a state where the OS has not yet reloaded.

Otherwise, just shut down the PC.  As long as it is a Formal Shutdown sequence ( not hitting the reset button, etc ) will ensure that there will be no data corruption on the removable media.

Note that there is a way to force all File Handles to be closed in Disk Management but it is cludgy and technical and it is far easier to just reboot or shutdown.

Additionally, one may use Process Explorer to find what has File Handles open on the removable Media.  This is done by choosing "Find" ( also "Ctrl"+ "F" ) in the top Pull-Down Menu and entering the drive letter of the removable media.  This way you can find out what is the cause.  However it is not advisable to then kill the process as that too may cause data corruption on the removable media.


Edited by David H. Lipman
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