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Tip: Avoid Having To "safely Remove" Your Usb Flash Drive


FPCH Member
Jan 7, 2008
PC Experience
Operating System
Windows Vista - Ultimate

Normally by default, Write Caching is enabled when you use your USB FLASH drive
on a Windows XP computer. With Write Caching ENABLED you need to safely remove
the flash drive to avoid corrupting or losing data on the flash drive. However, if you
set the properties in Windows to DISABLE Write Caching for the drive letter that is
always assigned to your flash drive, then you can remove the flash drive without
having to go through the safely remove process.

Once you set the properties to DISABLE write caching on a specific drive letter
in Windows XP, it holds that setting and you can avoid having to safely remove
any flash drive on that computer that uses that particular drive letter.

How to Disable Write Caching for a specific drive letter
1.) Plug in your USB flash drive and note which drive letter is assigned
by viewing it in My Computer.

2.) In My Computer, right-click the flash drive and select..
Properties -> Hardware -> Properties -> Policies,
and then uncheck "Enable write caching on the disk" to disable write caching.

Now any USB flash drive that you use on this computer that comes up as
this same drive letter does not need to be "safely removed". Just make sure
there is no data being written at the moment you remove it.
Mar 1, 2008
Very useful - i'm always forgetting to stop my USB stick, generally when in a hurry, and get really ticked off waiting for my knackered laptop to install its windows updates and actually shut down. thanks.


Elite FPCH Contributor
Dec 14, 2008
Operating System
Windows XP - Home Edition
Just ran across this thread and trying to decide how it applies to my circumstances. I've been using little 2GB thumb drives for several years and never knew about "safely removing". The thumb drives have worked just great. Then I read something about how important it is to use safely remove.

I just bought a 250 GB external drive and have been safely removing it and the thumb drives ever since I read that.

Kind of nuisance, if I don't really need to. Opinion please?


FPCH Long Term Member
Oct 9, 2008
I just bought a 250 GB external drive
Glad to see you did that. :) Now get all of your data stored onto it as it is far more reliable then the little flash drive you have been using. As far as the add or remove is concerned, it really depends on how you are using the drive.

If you are simply using it as storage and moving file over manually there probably is no great danger in simply removing the usb cable. If, however, you become more sophisticated in its use you need to be sure it is not being accessed when you remove it.

If you are into "better safe then sorry" the few seconds it takes will be of little bother. On the other hand if you should happen to pull the thing without the safely remove utility I would not be particularly concerned.

Plastic Nev

Deceased - sadly missed
Oct 19, 2008
Most of the better quality flash drives do have an indicator LED lit when data is being transferred, providing that light is not lit, and give it a second to be sure, then it is usually OK to pull it out. However if pulled while the light is lit, it can damage not just the data, but also the drive.