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Windows won’t eject my storage device

February 22, 2017

I’d been using an external hard drive (connected by USB) and wanted to safely eject it. But no matter what I did, I kept getting this message: “Windows can’t stop your ‘Generic volume’ device because a program is still using it. Close any programs that might be using the device, and then try again later.”

I tried quite a number of possible solutions I found on the internet, but none worked for me — until this one below. I’ve copied the solution in full, in case this information is no longer available at the URL at some time in the future (original URL where I found the answer: http://superuser.com/questions/36716/how-to-safely-remove-a-usb-drive-when-windows-cant-stop-your-generic-volume).

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Simple fix (Windows 7 Professional 64-bit):

  1. Change the drive letter, and if you want to keep the same letter, change it back.
  2. The drive can now be unmounted.

When you change the drive letter, it disconnects the drive from all processes that might be using it, as the warning message states. Once that happens, you can then unmount it the usual way.

If you don’t know how to change drive letter, follow these instructions.

  1. Control Panel –> Administrative Tools –> Computer Management –> Storage –> Disk Management (wait ~10 seconds for information to appear.)
  2. Select the problem drive under volume heading.
  3. Scroll to that drive in the lower part of window.
  4. Right-click on the drive, and select Change Drive Letter and Paths.
  5. Change the drive letter to one not reserved for another drive.
  6. Acknowledge the warning message.
  7. If you wish the drive to retain the original letter, simply switch it back. The drive can now be unmounted.

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[Link last checked February 2017]

2 comments

  1. I’ve been having this problem quite a lot too. I can eject my small USB stick drives normally, but whenever I try to eject my 1TB Seagate external hard drive, it always says it can’t eject it, even when I’ve closed all the programs and files that were using it.


  2. cool



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