Safely Ejecting External Storage Devices

How important is it to safely eject your external storage devices?
It is not always easy to tell whether your computer is still accessing or writing files to the external storage devices we use. Pulling a memory card out of its reader or removing an external drive out of the USB port could cause corrupted files, unreadable media or both. Ejecting your external storage safely decreases these chances. Whether you are using a Windows-based computer or a Mac, you can safely remove your external storage devices using built-in utilities designed for disconnecting hardware.

On a Windows machine:

  1. Close any applications currently using your external storage device including any open windows that displays its contents.
  2. Locate the "Safely Remove Hardware" icon located next to the system clock on the taskbar by the system tray. You may have to expand it by clicking on the arrow. Click on the "Safely Remove Hardware" icon to launch the hardware pop-up window, then click your external hard drive's icon or assigned disk letter.
      Alternatively, if you do not see or are not able to locate the "Safely Remove Hardware" icon in the system tray, navigate to the Computer or My Computer from the desktop or Start Menu. When the Computer or My Computer window opens, locate your external storage device. Left-click once to highlight it then right-click. On the resulting pop-up window, click on Eject.
  3. Wait for the "Safe to Remove Hardware" message to come up and then remove your external storage device.

On a Mac:
  1. Locate your external storage device’s icon on the desktop. Drag the icon to the Trash bin, which will change to an Eject icon.
      Alternatively, hold the "Ctrl" key and left-click your mouse on the external drive’s icon. Click Eject on the pop-up menu.
  2. You have safely ejected your external storage device if its icon is no longer visible on the desktop.
  3. Disconnect your external storage device from your Mac