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Chapter 4. Microsoft Windows and Hardwar... > Working with Removable Devices (USB ...

Working with Removable Devices (USB and Others)

When you use USB devices, you can physically connect and disconnect the devices at any time. With some types of hardware, this is no problem at all. For instance, if you have a portable Compact Flash card reader that you use to transfer pictures and songs between your PC and a digital camera or portable music player, you can unplug the reader when you’re finished with it.

But with some types of hardware, removing a device can cause problems for Windows. You might have a removable hard disk connected to your USB port, for example, or a network card plugged into the PC Card slot on your notebook computer. If a program is currently using files on the disk or is connected to another computer through the network, abruptly unplugging the device could cause you to lose data. To disconnect a device like this safely, you first need to send a message to Windows, letting the operating system know that you’re finished working with the device.

The solution for most removable devices is to look in the notification area. Find the Safely Remove Hardware icon and double-click it to display the Safely Remove Hardware dialog box shown on the next page. The list shows all removable devices currently connected to your computer.


Select the device you want to stop using from the list and then click Stop. When you see the message that says it’s all right to remove the device, disconnect it.

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