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Windows 7: External hard drive can't be removed


07 Dec 2011   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit OS
 
 
External hard drive can't be removed

Hello all

I have previously started a thread asking a question about
why external drives cannot be safely removed due to being either
in use by another process or wording similar to this.

I have now searched this forum for any previous threads relating to this problem, and also at other forums without any definitive answer as to a solution. I was previously told about a program called LockHunter which
I have used to identify the system processes which stop the drive from being able to be removed. Unfortunately, the tools within the program cannot solve the problem as shown in the screenshot below:

Attachment 187300

I have searched around for a few hours trying to find a solution to this problem to no avail.

Does anyone know of a definitive solution that they could outline step by step here or is this another bug in Windows that they have deemed to hard to patch and therefore placed the topic in the too hard basket?

Ty in advance for replies

Just thought I would add that I just checked the security of my external drive. This is unrelated to the previous question, but does anyone know why there would be an SID
(EG: S-1-5-21 ETC ETC) named as the owner of my external drive? I have just put about 600GB worth of backup on this and prior to that it was unused.

I understand that SID's can be remnants from having the drive plugged in to other machines, however the same SID which appears if I look at the owner of the root drive letter does not also appear in the first screen in the security tab under group or user names. I have always been useless when it comes to setting permissions and how they work - could anyone explain to me what is going on here please?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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08 Dec 2011   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, & Mac OS X 10.9.2
 
 

as the wise Linus from "linus tech tips" once said "lifes to short to saftley remove"
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2011   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit OS
 
 

Life is short I will agree with that.

Really not a helpful post though as you are probably aware.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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08 Dec 2011   #4

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by AllOnTheBus View Post
Life is short I will agree with that.

Really not a helpful post though as you are probably aware.
I could only get my USB drives to safely remove about 20% of the time. I changed the setting for them in Device Manager to Hot Plug. I use sync.exe from SysInternals:
Sync

to make sure disk data is flushed to the drive before I shut off my USB docks or unplug my USB key. Haven't had any issues.

afa the permission thing, this post may or may not fix it up:

File permissions mystery!

edit: I realize sync.exe was last updated in 2006. But on NT based systems like XP, Vista, Windows 7, all it does is lock the volume, then unlock it. The OS automatically flushes all disk buffers when a volume is locked. So it's something that's likely to work fine for a long time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2011   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Some processes have this habit of not releasing the handles. That does not mean that the drive cannot be removed. The "safely remove" function is there to prevent write operations in process to be prematurely terminated. And that is only significant, if the device was set to allow write caching.

But if the last write operation to the device has been a few seconds ago, it is very unlikely that there is still data "in transfer".

If you want to be 100% sure that the device can be removed, do a reboot. That will terminate all writes and release all handles.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2011   #6

Windows 7 Pro-x64
 
 

Those are part of the NT file system and normally of no concern to the user. I suspect Windows was terminated or the drive unplugged during a write. Or possibly a driver failure. Windows automatically saves backup of the metadata files and automatically restores them so with these staying open seems to indicate the backup is also hosed. The SID is one of Windows' global IDs. Windows is the owner of the metadata files.

If you can read the disk, I would try to backup it up and run chkdsk. Some of the files may be lost already though.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2011   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 x64
 
 

Reboot, if that doesn't work reboot safe mode.
If you can shut off you can just remove it then.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2011   #8

Windows 7 Pro-x64
 
 

You can't just remove Windows NTFS. The disk will need to be repaired or formated.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2011   #9

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by carwiz View Post
You can't just remove Windows NTFS. The disk will need to be repaired or formated.
I do it multiple times daily. Set the drive in device manager to hot plug rather than write caching. Run sync.exe. Press the button(in the case of a USB dock) or pull out the key drive.

If I waited for safely remove to work I'd never be able to do anything.

edit:
As WHS said, wait for file operations to complete. Obviously you don't yank the drive out while you're coping a file on. I run sync just to make sure the buffers are flushed. Now and then I'll see the access light give a flicker after I run it. It's just a precaution.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2011   #10
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote:
If I waited for safely remove to work I'd never be able to do anything.
LOL, real life meets theory.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 External hard drive can't be removed




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