We use our external USB storage devices, peripherals, and several devices almost daily. When taking out the USB Storage devices, it is advised to use the Safely remove the USB Storage device option. It prevents data corruption in those USB devices. But sometimes, you may see the following error appear, which may prevent you from ejecting the device:
Problem ejecting USB Mass Storage – This device is currently in use, close any programs or windows that might be using this device, and then try again.
Alternatively, you could see 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.
It is caused due to the device interacting with the operating system in the background. Today, we will be checking out how to fix this error on Windows 11 and Windows 10.
USB error: This device is currently in use
There are various methods by which this error can be fixed. But before you begin, do close all open windows and programs that may be using the USB, wait for a few seconds, and then try. If this does not help, read on.
- Use DISKPART.
- Use Disk Management utility.
- Use the Process Explorer.
- Use the Task Manager.
You will need an admin account to follow these methods.
1] Use DISKPART
Execute the following commands in an elevated command prompt
It will initiate the Diskpart utility. Then type-
These commands will help you in either listing all the Disk connects or all the partitions on those disks formed.
From here, you will have to choose one command depending on the list command you entered.
select disk #
select volume #
Press Enter. It will select the Disk or Partition you want to select.
Next, type in-
offline disk #
offline volume #
Then hit Enter. It will mark the selected disk Offline.
Now you can take out your USB Storage device physically. But when you plug it in again, you need to carry out the same method but in the last command. You need to enter the following command-
online disk #
online volume #
It will get your device back online.
2] Using Disk Management Utility
Type diskmgmt.msc in the Start search box and hit the OK button.
Find the entry for your USB Storage device and right-click on it.
Now select Offline.
Now you can safely remove your USB Storage device physically.
You can perform the same steps and select Online to get your USB Storage device back up when plugged in again.
3] Using Process Explorer
Download Process Explorer from Microsoft and then run the executable file.
Now, from the menu ribbon, select Find.
From the drop-down menu, select Find Handle or DLL…
It will bring up the Process Explorer Search program’s mini window.
For the Handle or DLL substring, type in the drive letter for your USB Storage device and select Search.
It will look up all the processes making use of the selected USB Storage device.
You can kill those processes and then try to eject the device normally.
4] Use the Task Manager
Open the Task Manager and then look for the running processes and programs hogging your USB Storage device.
When you have a program using a USB drive, it will hog onto some Disk or CPU while transferring data and interacting with the device. It could be the offender.
Select them, then right-click on them, and finally click on End Task or End Process, depending upon if you are terminating a Program or an entire process for it.
You may also restart Explorer.exe and see if this helps.
I hope this helps.
Is it safe to eject an external hard drive?
It is always safe to eject a USB or an External drive as long as you or any program does not use it. So if you are making a copy, taking a backup, or transferring a system image to the external drive, wait until it completes.
Why is there no eject option in Windows for the USB drive?
If you don’t see it, then it’s likely hidden or removed from the system tray. Click on the up arrow on the System tray to reveal more icons, and check if the option is available. If you cannot find it here, go to Settings > Personalization > Taskbar > Taskbar Corner overflow. Check if the option is hidden. If you still cannot find it, go to System > Notifications, and look for it under Notifications from apps and other senders. Then enable it.
How can I tell what program is using my USB?
Process Explorer Search is the best program to find out which program uses the USB drive even though you have closed everything from your end. Sometimes a part of the program keeps running in the background doing the last bit of work but gets stuck. Once you kill the program, ejecting will not be a problem.