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How to Safely Disconnect An External Drive From Your Computer

Posted by Lou TarDisk on 2017-07-24


We've all done it, just yanking out your flash drive from the USB port when you're done using it. What's the harm, right? Turns out, it could damage files on your drive if you don't properly eject your disk. The odds are low - but they do exist. Why risk it?

Here are three ways to eject your drive or disk to ensure your data's safe and sound.

  1. Drag the disk icon

This is probably the most popular method. All you have to do is click the disk icon on the desktop and drag it to the Trash icon on the Dock. Wait a few seconds and your disk will disappear from the desktop. This means that it is now safe to remove your disk.

But for this method to work, you have to have your Mac set to show disks on the desktop. To make sure you have this setting activated, launch the "Finder Preferences" from Finder menu or hit "Command +". On the “General” tab, check the items you want to be shown on your desktop (including external drives), close Finder preferences, and you should see the drive or disk on the desktop.

  1. Use your keyboard

If your computer has an optical drive (CD or DVD), you can easily eject them by holding down the Eject key in the upper right corner of your keyboard until your Mac ejects the disc.

  1. Use the Finder

 With Finder open, look for the disk you want to eject under the “Devices” subheading and click the eject button next to the disk. Wait for it to disappear from the sidebar. Once it's gone, you can safely disconnect your device.

How to Safely Disconnect an External Drive From Your Computer

There will be times that the disk won't eject, probably because a file from the disk is open on your computer. If this happens, close the file or application being used and try again. You can also "force eject" the disk, but I wouldn't recommend doing this: this could cause you to lose some data, so be careful and take a minute to eject the disk the proper way. You'll thank me for it someday, promise.

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