One of the most annoying rituals performed by Windows users while using USB drives in Windows is to hit the divine “Safely Remove Hardware” option before removing the drive. The author usually gets scorned everytime he tells “Hey, It is okay to remove it directly!” by his fellas. This time he invokes his divine blogging rights to prove his friends so wrong as a prologue for his world domination plans coming into action.
Enough kidding. It is common sense that removing an external drive should not cause any problems. Why? This is because previous versions of Windows, like XP, used a feature known as ‘Write Caching’ for better performance of removable drives. This required users to safely remove hardware so as to avoid any data corruption. However in the latest version of Windows, this feature doesn’t need to be enabled anymore.
In short, you can remove your flash drives without safely removing them! But before you do that, follow the steps given below.
Oh Wait, What is Write Caching?
Write Caching essentially works like this – whenever you transfer some data on a removable drive, it is actually saved in a fast but volatile memory cache which is on your drive. But your program is fooled to believe that the file is actually saved on the removable drive. In reality, the data are actually saved on the removable drive only when it is ready to be written onto.
This should theoretically improve the performance of the drive but actually it does not. A recent test performed by Ciprian of 7Tutorial blog shows that modern USB drives easily do not benefit much from Write Caching.
Steps to Disable Quick Removal of Removable Drives
If you want to shave off some precious time spent in “safely removing hardware” and instead want to take your removable drive off without that annoying extra step, here is how you proceed:
Open Device Manager just by typing “device manager” in the start menu or alternatively right click the My Computer Icon on your desktop , select properties and then open device manager from there
In the Device Manager, go to the device which you want to plug off directly :
- Quick Removal : Make sure you select this if you want to use your removable drive without bothering to select “Safely remove” the drive every time you want to eject the drive. Theoretically you should get a performance loss due to disabling Write Cache , but luckily for most devices it is not the case.
Windows 7 actually enables this by default for most removable drives. But still many who upgraded from Windows XP still end up diligently safely removing their drive
- Better Performance : This enables Write Caching , which should will require you to go through the tedious process of safely removing your device every time. This is something not very desirable for most removable drives and you can blissfully ignore this option. Also there is a risk of data corruption in case of power loss.
It has been found in various cases that Write Caching may sometimes degrade performance mildly. Write Caching is also recommended to be disabled on SSD’s. You can expect both NTFS and FAT formatted external drives to perform the same way when Write Caching is enabled/disabled.
On A Concluding Note..
With modern Windows’ “Safely Removing Hardware” is all but limited to a mere formality. With this little article, you may breathe a little easier, when you remove your external drive in a jiffy. But I would still want to warn you not to use Quick Removal for all your devices like an external Hard Drive, where speeds and performance do matter a bit. Nevertheless if you don’t care about that millisecond delay and rather wish your data not to get corrupted by any chance, you would be safe with Quick Removal .