Paul Andrew

Technical Product Manager for Office 365 at Microsoft

Unlocker utility for ejecting USB drives

Unlocker utility for ejecting USB drives

  • Comments 5

When I head home for the evening I shut down my computer. When I do this I have to unplug any USB drives that I might have been using. Frequently I request to remove the device from Windows and it pops up a little message saying that I can't remove the device just now because something is using it.

 This is frustrating because I'm the computer user and I'm not using the drive. I found this little utility the other day which works a charm. Just right click on the drive to be removed and choose unlocker. It will tell you what processes have locked the drive and offer to unlock them or kill them.

I got the reference from Maximum PC magazine.

  • When I head home for the evening I shut down my computer. When I do this I have to unplug any USB drives

  • Haven't tried it yet but this sounds like an incredibly handy piece of software I'll be sure to try out. Thanks for the tip!

  • A safer solution might be to download and run SysInternals Process Explorer which will let you find out which process is still using the file.

    [)amien

  • Uhh. Just run the Safely Remove Hardware (click on it) again. Unless something is really using the device, this usually results in "Safe to Remove Hardware."

    This assures me that all the write buffers to the USB device are flushed.  Yanking the device out prior to everything being written to the device would result in trashed file system there.

    Actually not sure if this is 100% true, but it certainly was the case for writing to floppies. I had someone give me a floppy with 2 weeks of work on it (supposedly) that he (of course) deleted from his HD.

    I was sitting in a seminar and person next to me yanked out the USB drive. Warning dialog comes up and she click/cancels out of it. I asked her if she read the dialog, but she said it always did that (ignored the warning). Gave me the cold sweats as she had just dumped all the work on a grant proposal to the USB drive and was in the process of removing it from her laptop when I stopped her.

    Remember that lazy writes are on by default.

  • I used to just click safely remove hardware over and over again. I'd close all my windows and do it again. This is with an external USB hard drive that I use a lot. I also set it to no lazy writing via "Optimize for Quick Removal" in XPSP2. And it would just tell me it's busy. Hence I was happy to find this utility which not only shows you the process that's locked the drive it will remove the lock.

    I'm also a process explorer user. it just takes longer to start up and when I'm ready to head home for the evening, well I don't want to muck around waiting for my PC. Actually I never want to be sitting at my desk waiting for my PC. PCs are way too slow responding in my opinion.

    Paul

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