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Utility in windows to determine what program is holding a usb drive?

Posted on 2010-09-17
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Occasionally in windows when I go to shutdown a usb drive so I can disconnect it, I'll get the message that a program is using the drive even though it appears that all of the foreground programs are not using it. Is there a utility I can run that will show me specifically which process is using a usb drive?
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Question by:opike
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Expert Comment

by:arweeks
ID: 33706375
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by:athomsfere
ID: 33706379
What version of Windows?

Vista and 7 do have some built in tools, there are also free tools from systernals Process explorer to see exactly what is accessing what, and where. It is free and a great app!

http://download.cnet.com/Process-Explorer/3000-2094_4-10223605.html
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Author Comment

by:opike
ID: 33706470
It's windows 7 home ed. I downloaded filemon and try messing around with the filters but it seems to show all the activity on the C: drive (the usb drive is F:). The columns can't be sorted so it makes it a little challenging to easily see what activity is occuring on a certain drive.



filemon.png
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by:arweeks
ID: 33706481
Add a filter - image path contains e:

or whatever drive you want to monitor is
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Author Comment

by:opike
ID: 33706534
I also took a look at process explorer but I wasn't able to find where you could display what files a pariticular process might be accessing. I looked at the display columns to choose from but didn't see one that was applicable.
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Author Comment

by:opike
ID: 33706558
Image path is the path to the executable, not the file that is opened. The usb drive doesn't actually have any executables on it.
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by:athomsfere
ID: 33706561
OK< using process monitor:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896645.aspx

Sort by drive in the process main page. See your drive in access?

If not go to Tools -> File summary

You can now look By folder, see any open files on that drive?
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by:madunix
ID: 33706996
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Accepted Solution

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nobus earned 500 total points
ID: 33707096
you could use safely remove :  http://safelyremove.com/?pid=1
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Author Closing Comment

by:opike
ID: 33814861
I found this tool to be the most useful (although it isn't free...).
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by:nobus
ID: 33816597
i agree - i have it myself; and you can even get support from the makers..
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by:Ravi Agrawal
ID: 33816622
Although the Q is closed,

I'd like to add that it is possible to see the drive being used by which process using "process explorer"

Start Process Explorer >> Find >> Find Handle or DLL >> e:  -- assuming e: to be the drive letter associated with the USB drive.

Most of the times it is the "System Restore Process" that is accessing the System Volume Information Folder on the USB Drive.

Turn off System Restore on the USB Drive with the drive connected in your System. Windows + Break key >> System Restore tab >> Select the USB drive >> click the settings button >> Put a Check Mark on "Turn off system restore on this drive". Ok out everything. Thats it.

Windows + Break key combo will open the System Properties Window, same as Control Panel >> System.

There's a chance that you won't be faced with this problem anymore unless due to some malware infection.

Ravi.
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