How to Solve the Problem of Ejecting a USB Mass Storage Device

Guest Post by  Nikes Alviz

USB Flash drives and hard drives are very popular nowadays. They are handy, portable and used anytime when needed. It is very practical to own one especially when you need to carry your back files so you can access them anytime.

These devices by default can be removed without the use of the “Safely Remove Device” icon on the system tray. However, some devices sometimes use disk caching to improve performance. It is necessary to use the “Safely Remove Device” icon when a device use disk caching so as not to lose important files.

But have you ever experienced safely removing your usb flash drive or hard drive then an error flags like this:

“The device ‘Generic volume’ cannot be stopped right now. Try stopping the device again later” in Windows XP or this:

in Windows Vista or Windows 7

Even you close all application, close all windows but when you try again, this annoying error message remains. This is because there is a hidden application still accessing your drive in the background.

To resolve this problem, follow this simple systematic procedure:

1. Download this free utility from a third-party website at this address:

Do not worry, this file is safe and approved directly by Microsoft.

2. Open the file from you download directory. If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7, right click and choose “run as administrator”

3. At the main window, click “Find” and choose “Find Handle or DLL”

4. A window will appear, type in the box the drive letter of your USB mass Storage Device. For example, if your USB mass storage device is designated as drive “H:”, then type “H:” at the box provided and click “Search”

5. A list of processes will appear on the lower part of the window, find processes that are labeled as “Handle” under the TAB “PID”

6. Once the processes are identified, find the handle showing only the root drive letter of the USB storage device, for example, “H:”

7. Double click the drive letter of the handle, and it will show the process using the drive on the main window.

8. Right click the process, and choose “Close Handle” and choose “YES”. After it close the process, close the Process Explorer.

9. Try to eject your USB storage device at the system tray.

10. Congratulations, you have successfully ejected your USB Mass Storage Device!

10 thoughts on “How to Solve the Problem of Ejecting a USB Mass Storage Device”

    • minnierunner

      yes,you could use the task manager to "end Task" the running process, IF you know EXACTLY what process is using your drive. There are times that a hidden process, even the task manager does not display, and therefore no matter you end task everything, your drive will still be in use. The above method is the safest method to detect hidden process using your drive.

      Yes, You can also unplug your device, as i mentioned above, but ONLY if its Disk Caching is turned off. If Disk Caching is turned on, you are trying to kill your USB drive slowly if you just unplug it without safe removal. For USB storage devices with NTFS file system, it is still recommended to use the safe removal tool before unplugging to ensure long lasting drive life.

  1. I have had this happen in the past. Sometimes I would just leave it be and try later [and it would work]. Other times I did the dreaded unplug with fingers crossed. Now I use a Mac, but will remember this if ever on a Windows pc in the future. After all, these things are put in place for a reason. Thanks for the info Nikes and Jena!

    • Hello Anne, nice of you to drop by. It's always a pleasure having you here. You're welcome. I'm thinking of using a Mac,, but it seems locally in our area, it is not so much recommended. You may leave pointers too on the use of Mac. TC.

  2. This is one handy instruction. I've had one of those days that the USB device just wouldn't work but unplug it forcefully is the last option, but can be destructive so avoid that at all cost. I'm sharing this on the fan page surely. 🙂 Gotta make sure our devices are well protected if we are to work with an ease of mind. Thanks to both Jena & Nikes to this valuable info.

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  3. This did NOT work for me. When I tried to close the handle, it told me the handle was invalid! In the end, I just unplugged it, but I have lost file this way in the past.


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