If you have seen the error message, ‘Problem Ejecting USB Mass Storage Device’ when you try to safely eject a portable USB drive, we may have a solution.
Portable hard drives that connect to a PC are handy for backing up the files on your PC. We use Western Digital portable drives to back up both our PCs and servers.
After performing a backup, the proper method for removing almost any USB device is the Safely Remove Hardware utility on the system tray task bar at the bottom of a screen in Windows. If a USB external hard drive is not removed properly, there is a risk of losing data. It is therefore not a good idea to simply remove the USB connection without first releasing the USB connection using the utility in Windows.
According to Microsoft, you will receive this error message when “there are open handles with any files in the USB mass storage device that are in use by another program.” Handles are live connections to a file, which means that something is using the file. There is a 3rd party utility that Microsoft suggests that you install to identify the program that is connected to your portable hard drive, but who wants to go through that trouble unnecessarily?
Microsoft also suggest that the problem may be an anti-virus or anti-spyware program or due to ‘indexing’ being enabled on the portable hard drive. While both of these are possibilities, we have never seen either of these issues as the cause of this problem.
We found that the problem will occur when something has recently been deleted from the portable hard drive. The connection in this case is the Windows Recycle Bin. Deleting all of the files in the Recycle Bin releases the connection to the portable hard drive and you can then release the USB drive properly using the Safely Remove Hardware utility.
If you have seen another simple solution to this problem, let us know what your solution is by adding a reply below.