How To Quickly Eject USB Drives etc In Windows

USB Disk Ejector is a free portable program to quickly remove USB drives in Windows – it can eject USB disks, Firewire disks and memory cards.

It’s a quick and flexible alternative to the ‘Safely Remove Hardware’ method in Windows and has added benefits such as the ability to auto-close programs running from the USB disk.

The program is of most benefit to XP and Vista users (Windows 7 has more advanced ejection notifications) but the program does offer extra features beyond those found in Windows 7 too.

USB Disk Ejector Features

  • Works on XP, Vista and Windows 7 and is portable – no need to install and it can also be run from a removable drive e.g. USB flash drive.
  • In XP and Vista, ‘Safely Remove Hardware’ doesn’t immediately display which drive is which – it takes time to work out which drive letter applies to which disk. USB Disk Ejector shows the full details of each disk so it is easy to choose the right one to eject.

As an example, my test Vista PC has 3 external drives plugged in: a 4GB flash drive, a card reader and an Iomega USB hard drive. Here is the default ‘Safely Remove Hardware’ message in Windows (not helpful, which one to choose?):

USB1

XP and Vista default message

Here is the USB Disk Ejector message – immediately obvious which drive is which:

USB2

USB Disk Ejector message

  • USB Disk Ejector can eject drives which Windows can’t – often Windows can’t eject a drive because it has an open Explorer window. USB Disk Ejector will close the window before ejecting.
  • Likewise, if any programs are running from a USB disk then Windows can’t eject it. USB Disk Ejector can (optionally) detect and auto-close such programs before ejecting – it can even close itself if you are running it from a USB drive and then eject it safely.
  • It can be run as a command line program e.g. set up a desktop shortcut to eject a drive – see the Readme for more detailed parameters.

Download

Download the ‘latest version’ from the developer here – in zip file format.

Using USB Disk Ejector

Extract the zip file – if required, copy the USB_Disk_Eject.exe program file to another location or to a flash drive.

Run the program – if you have any removable USB/Firewire drives or memory cards they will be shown in the list.

If you plug in any additional devices while the program is running then the list will automatically update to show them.

Double click on a device in the program window to remove it and then unplug the device from your computer.

Click More>>> in the program window then choose Options to open the program options. There are many options – some of the most useful include:

1. In the ‘Ejection’ tab, choose what to do after a disk has been ejected and what to do if any programs have been launched from the drive.

2. In the ‘General’ tab, selecting ‘Start the program minimized’ is particularly useful if you intend to start the program with Windows – see next section.

Start USB Disk Ejector With Windows

To make the program start automatically when Windows loads, create a shortcut to it in your Startup folder. The easiest way to do this is to just drag and drop the USB_Disk_Eject.exe program file into your Startup folder.

Alternatively, right click the program file and choose ‘Create shortcut’ then Cut that shortcut. Right click your Startup folder and choose ‘Open’ then Paste the shortcut into the Startup folder.

It would be useful to also set up the ‘Start the program minimized’ option (see 2 above) so that the program is not displayed as a full window at startup.

Conclusion

USB Disk Ejector is a neat way to quickly remove drives in Windows – especially in XP and Vista.

It includes better features than the standard Windows method to safely remove hardware and the ability to auto-close programs running from the USB drive is useful to avoid some of those annoying “The device cannot be stopped right now” error messages.