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What's locking / opening the USB & SD devices

Posted on 2014-03-29
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Last Modified: 2014-03-31
I often got this message that a USB HDD or thumb drive
or SD can't be ejected.  Sometimes I have to just 'improperly'
remove the devices & there's a few occasions the devices
became unreadable (or with contents lost)

Q1:
How can check which process is locking / reading the device?
I'll then use Task Manager to kill the process.  I've tried killing
RealSched : it allows ejecting occasionally.  I've  a few cases
where after exiting all apps on the Desktop (eg: Win Explorer,
Outlook, MS Ofc etc), it still won't allow me to eject so it's
one of those 'background' process

Q2:
Would the method above risk corrupting the devices that are
ejected that way? If so, what's the workaround
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Question by:sunhux
4 Comments
 
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by:Michael-Best
Michael-Best earned 125 total points
ID: 39963800
You can use unlocker to kill the process that is locking it;
http://www.filehippo.com/jp/download_unlocker/

I presume that XP is your OS ?

While reading media will not risk corrupting the devices if ejected improperly
During the writing of media may corrupt the devies if ejected improperly.
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LVL 62

Assisted Solution

by:☠ MASQ ☠
☠ MASQ ☠ earned 75 total points
ID: 39963930
Unlocker is a great tool but take care installing it as it's usually packed with stuff you don't want.

See:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Security/Vulnerabilities/A_12939-Downloading-Safely-or-How-Not-to-Get-More-Than-You-Bargained-For.html
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Accepted Solution

by:
serialband earned 150 total points
ID: 39964310
First off, don't get it from filehippo, a 3rd party site.  Get it from the source.  Give them credit.

http://www.emptyloop.com/unlocker/

When you install it, make sure you uncheck all the extras.  3rd party sites like filehippo are where you're also more likely to get viruses and trojans.  File hippo was once a warez site that became legit.  One of the "admins" I once worked with loved downloading from them and frequently got viruses.  (That wasn't even too long ago)  He probably still does it and still gets viruses.

I really dislike that Download Aggregaters are now polluting the search space as the top search links and pushing down the real web sites.  People need to stop linking to them.  I only resort to using them if the site disappears and also isn't available on the wayback machine.

____

With the USB devices, I avoid locking them by navigating away before closing a program.  If you have explorer open, use the back arrow to get back out first.  If you're in a DOS prompt, type cd \.  If you have word or some other program open, don't just close them.  Navigate to a local filesystem and open a file there to set the path away from the USB device before you close it.

If you're sure that nothing's being written to the USB device, it's ok to just pull it out even if it warns you.  Nothing bad will happen if nothing is being written.  Even if something is being written, you'd only lose that one file.  You can quickly check by reinserting the USB stick to see if the file(s) you're interested in are still there.
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LVL 91

Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 150 total points
ID: 39964606
the best tool for these kind of problems is safely Remove :  http://safelyremove.com/?pid=1
you can eject, connect etc  without actually touching the device
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