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Is it safe to use Offline of Disk Management to disconnet a USB drive that don't want to eject the any other way

Posted on 2016-10-23
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Last Modified: 2016-10-26
Is using the 'right-click >> Offline' option in Disk Management safe to disconnect frustrated USB drives that don't want to eject successfully?

EE assisted us in various methods in working with this problem (see link)

(Please note, we are not loking for other ways to disconnet a USB, we already have thos methods)
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Question by:rayluvs
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41856253
It does not do the same thing. So that is, using to eject a USB key does not protect the USB or the port against damage from ejecting a live USB.

On Windows 8 and Windows 10, I eject, wait a few seconds and eject again.

USB keys are cheap, so I replace troublesome ones.

Windows 10 is better than Windows 8 in this regard.
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Author Comment

by:rayluvs
ID: 41856376
Yes, we are aware it does not do the same thing and everything else your entry.  But staying on the topic, is it safe to use Disk Management >> Offline >> Eject?
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41856385
The Offline setting does not affect the hardware setting for the USB port. So it is not as safe as Eject.
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Author Comment

by:rayluvs
ID: 41856403
Trying to understand why is not as safe as eject.  Last night a colleague almost convince us that placing a disk to Offline is basically a safe method of forcing a dismount if all else fails.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41856405
Put a USB drive in and ensure it works.

Place the disk offline, and the place online. You should still be able to use the USB key.

Leave the USB Key in place. Now Eject it. Try to use it. You cannot. You have to remove the key and reinsert it. Eject turns off the USB until the device is removed.

Offline is not meant to replace Eject.
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Author Comment

by:rayluvs
ID: 41856414
What does offline do then?
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41856416
It does what it says: Makes the drive inaccessible - but does not turn the drive off.

You are asking why an apple is not an orange.
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Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 250 total points
ID: 41856569
it is safe to remove any usb device if it is not active
this means no R/W activity on it
in most cases, this is obtained by waiting a minute
if the acivity continues  -you have to check what software is using it in disk management
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Author Comment

by:rayluvs
ID: 41860067
Sorry for the delay.

Yes, that is what we saw.  When we 'Offline' an external drive, the drive letters disappear, so we assumed there is no R/W activity on it.

Ok, just FYI:
  • we are referring to USB drives, that is, hard disk drives (250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 3TB) installed in an external case connected via USB to a computer.  
  • Our problem with USB sticks (8GB, 16GB, 32GB).  Also, we have made sure all our USB drives are set in Device manager as "Quick removal".

The problem:
  • Our USB drives, at random, not every time, when we click and "eject" the drive, it doesn't "safely removes" it and gives the error "Windows is unable to stop the device...".

This question we placed here is not to solve our "Windows is unable to stop the device..." problem, we already have a series of troubleshooting that inclusively EE has also assisted us in.  We are still working tro see why this happens.  However, we have noticed that when we "Offline" the drive when it keeps givings us the error "Windows is unable to stop the device...", the drives disappears and we assume that we can disconnected from the computer.

To our understanding,
  • "Offline' is like unmounting the drives, but does not power off the unit
  • "Safely Remove Drive" (or "Eject" option on te bottom right corner ofthe screen) will sync the device, unmount it and then power it down.

All the above said, what is EE advice in our assertion that when a USB drive doesn't want to be "Safely Removed", is using the 'right-click >> Offline' option in Disk Management safe?
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 41860087
you can try the safely remove software :  http://safelyremove.com/?pid=1
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41860109
Offline makes no difference to safe removal and if third party software does not help you, then you may need to consider that the keys may be bad.

Do you always try a second removal, as that often works.
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Author Comment

by:rayluvs
ID: 41860123
Please provide a straight forward answer.

When all else fails to safely remove a USB drive, is it safe place the USB drive Offline and disconnect?
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Accepted Solution

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John Hurst earned 250 total points
ID: 41860147
is it safe place the USB drive Offline and disconnect?   NO.

Offline does nothing about the electrical safety issue.

NO it does not work. You CANNOT use this.

Have I now been clear enough?
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Author Comment

by:rayluvs
ID: 41860205
Yes! Finally! Thanx!

Seeing your comment "Offline does nothing about the electrical safety issue", are you saying that even if 'Offline' unmounts the drive, closes it's volume, etc., the fact the the drive is still running, we might lose data if we disconnect from the computer?  (remember that our question is based on 'When all else fails to safely remove a USB drive')
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Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 250 total points
ID: 41860206
Pulling a USB device out under load can damage the USB port. It is not about just losing data.
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Author Comment

by:rayluvs
ID: 41860218
Ooof! Not good, seems we have no options...

You have seen our previous thread on the topic, and all discussed here; what is your recommendations if all else fails to safely remove a USB drive?
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Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 250 total points
ID: 41860224
On my computers (and I do not want to damage them), on the (rare) occasion a drive will not quit, I shut the machine down, remove it, and start up.
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Author Comment

by:rayluvs
ID: 41860287
Yes that's it, there is no way around it.

Thank you
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41860293
You are very welcome, of course. I was happy to work with you to a conclusion here.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 41860378
did you look at the safelyremove software i referred to?
it helps in many ways for such problems
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Author Comment

by:rayluvs
ID: 41860526
yes, same problem (sorry didn't give u feedback at the time)
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 41860624
that's possible - but you have to contact their help desk then
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