10 Comments to How to stop using the Safely Remove Hardware icon, in Windows

  1. Ron says:

    OK, that is really nice to know. Now the question is, what will turning off caching do to the overall life of out USB devices? That is the whole point of doing caching, minimzing wear on chips that have limited life.

    1. Ciprian Adrian Rusen says:

      I don’t think caching has anything to do with the overall life of the device. It is about improving the write performance, nothing else. At least to my knowledge.

  2. ron says:

    Yes, Drives based on flash chips, ie “thumb drives”, opposed to magnetic spinning HD’s with a USB connector, do have a fixed number of writes. How many depends on “quality” of the flash card. Say:
    https://www.zdnet.com/blog/storage/usb-drive-life-fact-or-fiction/849
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_memory

    Caching does both, speed up writes and minimize them to extend life.

  3. jasray says:

    I thought it didn’t really matter unless the flash drive were formatted in NTFS. Try the same study to a FAT32 formatted drive and a NTFS formatted drive. Significant difference may be noted when comparing better performance with two differently formatted drives.

  4. clogdancer says:

    Using a throughput test is one part of the story,
    Copy a bunch of small files in one operation to a USB device in both modes and notice the 10-fold time increase from cached to non-cached, in non-cached mode the changes to the folder are written multiple times for each file that is copied, also the bitmaps of the used blocks on the device is written over and over again.

  5. Chris says:

    This post is dangerously misleading for less technical users. As a computer support person at my organization, and as an amateur developer who has programmed a variety of apps for over 30 years, here is what results when people think it’s safe to simply remove a USB device without going through the “Safely Remove Hardware” hassle:

    Sally has to pick up her daughter at day-care and to do so, she absolutely must catch the 5:05 bus. But she’s also got a report that’s due to her boss by COB and she’s been working on it for days, at work and at home, carrying it back and forth on her USB stick. Oops, she notices it’s 4:59! Quit Word and grab that USB stick, so she can at least put the finishing touches on that report tonight and email it to her boss.

    That evening, IT support personnel receive panicked emails, phone calls, and texts! “My document is corrupted!!! My only copy is on this USB stick and Word tells me it can’t open the file!!!!”

    To make a long story shorter, Sally was told by a well-meaning but inexperienced tech that she “doesn’t need to bother with Safely Remove Hardware! I read an article about how you can disable that feature. Here, I’ll turn it on for you.”

    The problem is, end users do not, and have no reason to, understand how software works. The fact that the main Word window was no longer visible did NOT mean that Word was finished with combining the various temp files it creates into a final copy of the file and cleaning up it’s debris. In fact, one can almost guarantee that there will be a second or two or more (especially for large complex docuemnts) delay as the antivirus app scans the final version of the file being written to disk.

    By telling non-technical people they can simply grab a USB stick and go, without them understanding how files are written to the devices, can and invariably does lead to data corruption, tears, and hurt feelings on both the part of the end user and the IT support personnel.

    Articles like this, though well-intended, provide an unnecessary speed bump of a few seconds that WILL lead to pain and suffering in the future.

    1. Ciprian Adrian Rusen says:

      In the article we do state the following:

      Now write caching is disabled for the selected USB drive (memory stick or external hard disk). This means that, once you are done working with it, you can unplug it directly. You won’t have any problems.

      However, if you unplug the drive in the middle of writing some files to it, you will most probably encounter the “scan and fix” prompt shown at the beginning of this article.

  6. Zero3K says:

    I have discovered a way to remove that icon, which involves the following steps:

    1. Download Dud (http://www3.telus.net/_/dud/) and Replacer (http://www3.telus.net/_/replacer/).
    2. Rename dud.exe to stobject.dll.
    3. Give Ownership of the stobject.dll in WindowsSystem32 to Administrators and give Full Permission to it.
    4. Run Replacer to replace the original stobject.dll with the renamed dud.exe.
    5. Restart the PC.

  7. Darryl says:

    A Very Informative article – and I am now seriously looking at taking steps so I don’t have to use the SRHNI. But another concern of mine is when I try to disconnect a device, the system indicates I cannot remove it at this time. In too many instances, I leave it connected until I shut down the machine (and this sometimes necessitates shutting down and restarting the machine). I do this as I have seen devices corrupted – so I use caution rather than be sorry.

  8. CQuirke says:

    If you have damaged files, using the “Scan and fix option” will not “solve your problems”. Think of AutoChk and ChkDsk as like a bouncer in a nighclub; not there to render first aid to patrons (recover damaged files), but maintain order (maintain the integrity of the file system).

    So if a patron in a club causes a disturbance by collapsing and having a seizure, a paramedic would render first aid – but a bouncer woulkd chuck the patron out of the club.

    ChkDsk and AutoChk work on a “kill, bury, deny” principle; they fix the file system by chopping up or throwing away damaged files, and hiding what they’ve done (try “Show Details” after a flash drive is “fixed”; good luck identifying what files were “fixed” in an irreverable, destructive manner).

    This has the effect of “throwing the needles back in the haystack”; now the file system is “fixed”, you can no longer identify what files were damaged by doing an eyeballs-on ChkDsk.

    As far as I’m concerned, I still want to see that “Safe To Remove” icon at all times (reminds me I have external storage plugged in), so I can still explicitly tell Windows to flush pending contents to storage, wait for the notification that this has been done, then remove the device.

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