Is "Safely Eject Hardware" Still Necessary?

Posted by Jordan Weber on Thu, May, 09, 2019 @ 13:05 PM

For years we were taught to "safely eject" a USB drive before removing it.

If you're on Windows 10, you don't need to do that anymore. Here's why:

USB Safely Remove HardwareMk2

Jordan:  “Hi, my name is Jordan Weber, I’m the marketing manager at Sagiss. This is a USB flash drive. Of course, many if not all of you are familiar with this little device. These little sticks revolutionized the way human beings store and transfer information, and for a long time we loved using them.

 All that said, as compact and convenient as these little things are, working with them always came with a quirky caveat. For years, we were all taught that before you pulled one of these things out of a computer, you had to right click on the device’s icon in the system tray, right click and then hit “safely eject”.

 We’re going to talk a bit about why that was an important step, and why you don’t have to worry about doing it anymore.”

“Flash memory was invented in the early 80s at Toshiba, by Dr Fujio Masuoka. Dr Masuoka’s aim was to develop a better form of non-volatile digital memory. Non-volatile meaning the data would remain on the drive even after the power is disconnected. The result was called EEPROM.”

“When one of Masuoka’s colleagues remarked that the EEPROM technology worked so quickly that it reminded him of a camera flash, the name stuck. In the decades since, Flash memory has found it’s way into many of the devices we use every day.

“So, back to our original question. Why were we all taught to hit “eject” before removing a thumb drive from a computer? It comes down to a technology called ‘write-caching’.

“So, back to our original question. Why were we all taught to hit “eject” before removing a thumb drive from a computer? It comes down to a technology called ‘write-caching’.

Jordan: "All files are made up of a series of bits, those being combinations of 1s and 0s that represent numbers and letters. When you’ve finished your document and hit save, the computer will begin to move those 1s and 0s to a designated spot on your thumb drive, saving your document. When a PC has write-caching enabled, these bits don’t go directly to your thumb drive. Instead, they are saved in your computer’s RAM (Random Access Memory), and then moved to the Flash drive in chunks. This helps the PC work faster and makes for a more pleasant user experience."

"However, write-caching is not without its drawbacks. If the user removes the flash drive before all data mas moved from RAM and into the Flash drive’s memory, the resulting file may be corrupted and unusable."

“The good news is that with Windows 10, you’ll never have to do that again! Last month, Microsoft confirmed that Windows 10, version 1809 have write-caching turned off by default This ensures your PC and the flash drive aren’t still ‘talking’ so-to-speak when the user cuts off the conversation by yanking out the drive. You can check out Microsoft’s complete article on the matter here:"

Microsoft's Change in Removal of External Media Policy

“…and of course that link is included in this video’s description as well. It is also important to note that although write-caching is now turned off by default in Windows 10, users do have the option to turn it back on to boost overall system performance."

"That support article also includes an easy-to-follow guide to reactivating write-caching for individual USB drives.” “So there you have it! No more ejecting USB drives! One less thing you have to worry about. Be sure and subscribe to our blog and feel free to send us your thoughts on this and future blog topics to marketing@sagiss.com.”

 

Topics: Windows 10, Cybersecurity, Microsoft, Tips, Tricks, and Tools