Windows From the Keyboard Tips, External Devices – How to Safely Remove, February 19, 2020

Hello. This is Gerry Chevalier from the GTT Edmonton Chapter. This weekly blog provides tips that I find useful as a keyboard user of Windows. The information is for Windows10 and Office 365, although many tips still apply to older versions.  The tips do not require a screen reader unless specifically noted. Thus, the tips apply whether you are a keyboard user or low vision mouse user. Here is this week’s tip.


Windows External Media – How to Safely Remove from the Computer

When you are using external media such as a USB drive or SD memory card, there is a recommended method to safely remove it to prevent corruption of the files on the media.

  • First, use Alt+F4 to close all File Explorer or other apps (e.g. Word, Excel, Notepad etc.) that are using the external media.
  • Then you can log off or shut down your computer after which it is safe to remove the media.
  • If you prefer to remove the media without shutting down your computer, then press Windows key + E to open File Explorer.
  • Arrow down to the drive that contains your external media (E:, F:, G: etc.).
  • Press the Applications key to bring up a context menu for that drive.
  • Arrow down the menu to the Eject item and press Enter to eject the drive. It will not actually pop out of your computer unless it’s a CD/DVD drive, but its file system will be released by Windows.
  • Now it is safe to physically remove the media.
    Note that depending how your computer is set up or how you were using the drive will influence whether the Windows Eject function is required but it’s always safest to shut down or use Eject to prevent any corruption of the media’s file system.


That’s it for this tip. Until next Wednesday, happy computing.