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Windows 7: Cannot stop device because it is in use....

27 Nov 2011   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit OS
Cannot stop device because it is in use....

Hello all

For some time now I have been wondering why it is that
if an external hard drive is plugged in and the drive
is not being written to or read from, that if you
choose to safely remove the hardware the error message
can appear that "Drive cannot be stopped as it is
in use by another program or process" (This may not be the exact wording)

If Task Manager is opened, there is no program running
and I don't know which process would be stopping it from
being able to be removed.

I have spoken to a few people about this issue (no definitive answer)
and they report the same problem and are also unaware of
the reason for it.

I understand that if the drive is not being written to or read from
and the fact that it is NTFS means I can just pull the plug so to speak,
but I wonder what is the cause in the first place?

Seems to only happen sporadically (umm- sometimes!).

Thanks in advance for replies.

Note: Apologies if this question has been asked previously
and if that is the case and someone knows the link to follow
for info - please post here - thanks again

My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2011   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1

Hello AllOnTheBus

Have you tried Lock Hunter - LockHunter is a free 64/32 bit tool to delete files blocked by any processes It will show you exactly the process that is preventing the drive from been removed and allow you to end it for removal.

I was having a similar issue and discovered it was the recycle bin on object dock keeping a handle open on the external drive.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2011   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit OS

Thanks for the info danny

I'll definitely give Lock hunter a go (or at least go have
a look at it now). I knew I'd be back here to edit within
minutes just like most of my pther posts, but I also wanted
to mention that in the drives device properties under the
policies tab I had already selected/ set this to quick removal.

There are a few threads on this forum about the same topic
and I should have done a search first - apologies.

Going to investigate your recommendation now- thanks again
Cheers mate

Yet another edit!: I also happened to empty the recycle bin of the drive
just before reading your post danny.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

27 Nov 2011   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit OS

Looks like a good tool danny.

I'm a little concerned I may delete or stop something that
I'm not supposed to though and I see that it has the feature of
being able to restore your files from the recycle bin but does
it let you pick and choose what to send there in the first place?

Have you also tried the USB Safely Remove software
from the same site? It directly mentions being able to remedy
the "device cannot be stopped......" problem. I think I may
try this one first.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2011   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1

Personally I just use the unlock button on the drive if I need to, that way no harm can be done as all it does is stop the process locking the drive to enable you to remove it safely. Its not very often I remove it now anyway.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2011   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit OS

Thanks again my friend

I'll give them both a whirl anyway- what could
possibly go wrong! (famous last words)

Very quick response time from you danny- much appreciated
Adding cred now

I'll mark this one solved
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2011   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

On such occasions, I have been using Unlocker UNLOCKER 1.9.1 BY CEDRICK 'NITCH' COLLOMB and this website also gives a list of other alternative programs (as many as 20+) in case Unlocker does not help. It has a portable version too.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2011   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit OS

Ty for the alternative options jumanji

My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Nov 2011   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit OS

Posting back results

Thankyou again danny and jumanji for your responses.

danny - I have installed lock hunter and it is as easy to use
as you said. Problem was that as much as I plugged my
external drive in and out I couldn't get it to throw out
the error to try it out until - well until about 5 minutes ago!!!

I guess I don't want that error which is why I wanted
something to help remedy the problem, but ain't it funny how
it will never happen when you want it to- murphys law I guess.

Good recommendation mate- cheers
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Cannot stop device because it is in use....

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