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How to fix the ‘Problem ejecting mass storage device’ message on Windows 10

We’ve all seen the “Problem ejecting mass storage device” message when we try to safely remove a USB drive or an external drive from our system. The most obvious solution is to just ignore the message and yank the drive out. Of course this has risks and if you’re not willing to take them, here are a few things you can try to get rid of the message and safely remove the drive.

Close open files

Make sure that you do not have any files that are located on the drive open on your system. If you were previously working on a file located on the drive, and it was a large one, wait a few minutes after closing the file and then try to remove the drive.

Close Chrome

If you uploaded/accessed files from the external drive in Chrome, the browser doesn’t relinquish control of it. Even if you’ve closed the tab that you accessed the file from, you still won’t be able to stop and remove the external drive. You have to close Chrome and then try removing the drive.

Chrome isn’t alone in preventing drives from being removed. Other apps might do it too in which case, exit any apps that you used to access files on the external drive.

Use RemoveDrive

If the above doesn’t work, you can use a Command Line tool called RemoveDrive. Download and extract it and run the following command.

Syntax

RemoveDrive Drive Letter

Example

RemoveDrive E:\

Shut down

The above three methods ought to do the trick however, if you’re still unable to remove a device and you don’t want to risk losing your files, you can shut down your system and then remove the drive when your system is turned off.

The ‘Problem ejecting mass storage device’ message crops up now and then but if you keep getting it and that too for a particular drive, you might want to check if there’s something wrong with it. If the cause is hardware related, it’s most likely related to the drive and not your system.

Granted the above solutions, beside closing files and apps, will either disrupt work or they’re time consuming to execute which is why it is tempting to just yank the drive out and hope that no files are corrupted. Most of use have never lost files by incorrectly removing drives from the system and that’s often reason enough to disregard the message. That said, decide for yourself how important the files in the drive are before you forcefully remove it.

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