Do You Really Need to “Safely Eject” USB Devices?

Eject USB Drive

We have all been there: rushing to grab your USB drive only to be stopped in your tracks by the ominous warning about “safely removing” it first, but does this advice from the “old” days still apply in the modern era of Windows 10 and 11.

Way back when, forgetting to eject a drive before unplugging could lead to all sorts of issues, with corrupted documents and the blue screen of death (BSOD)! The It department drilled it into our heads that the “Safely Remove Hardware” notification should not to be ignored. Failure to follow procedure meant facing the wrath of your poor, suffering PC.

As recently as 2019, Microsoft confirmed that Windows 10 and newer operating systems allow for quicker removal of USB drives without harming your information, as long as you are not in the middle of a transfer.

Behind the scenes, the connected drives don’t constantly auto-update in the background like they used to to save time.

In Windows 10 and 11 specifically, there are now two modes for external devices: “Quick Removal” and “Better Performance.” As the names suggest, Quick Removal means you can remove the drive at any time with no consequences and “Better Performance” uses write caching to optimize transfer speeds but requires proper ejecting of the device.

In benchmark tests, though, the gain from caching is negligible for most users (milliseconds of difference at most). Unless you are a hardcore professional regularly shuffling massive files, the average person likely won’t notice any speed improvement.

So, in summary, if you are not actively copying or moving data to or from the drive, it is totally fine to pull USB sticks and portable hard drives straight from your computer without first clicking “Eject.” Modern operating systems have safeties in place to avoid corruption. No more anxious waiting or dealing with annoying pop-ups!

That said, the “Safely Remove Hardware” option doesn’t do any harm either if you want to play it safe. The choice is yours. Hopefully, this will put an end to any lingering paranoia about following the strict ejection procedures.