USB Drives & Windows!
This is a general information topic to all who used the Windows operating system and removable drives of any type.

We are writing this because our "Advanced Training Innova Mach 3" and "Be Creative With Your Mach 3" training materials have removable USB drives containing hours of video, patterns, projects and pictures for those materials. An example of one of those drives is shown above.

´╗┐We have encountered situations where users have placed the drive in extreme danger. Thus we are writing this message.
A High Level Look Into Removable Drives.

These USB drives store information, which we call "data", in long lines, let's call them "tracks". Those long tracks are subdivided into "sectors" and "blocks" and so on. This division of the tracks is done to improve efficiency of storage. For example, if you wanted to store the letter "A" on a track, there would be a lot of wasted space. This division allows for many, large or small, data streams to be stored with relative efficiency on a track..

The "structure" of the drive is kept in, shall we say, "directories" or "indexes'. These correlate that file name [data] with the location on the tracks, sectors, and so on, which comprise the USB drive. It even contain more information, such as the date it was created, modified, last accessed, size, type of data [text, pictures,...] and much more.

When the USB drive is inserted into the computer, the directory is read. As you access files, update some files, add files, or delete files, Windows records the information for the directory. In addition, Windows places writing to media, like the USB drive, rather low on the priority list.

This is the "rub". If you simply pull out the drive when YOU are done you have a great propensity to have data that is still in Windows and hasn't been written to the drive even though it says that it has. This compromises the drive, and can render it useless.
How Do You Safely Remove A Removable Drive?

When you plug a USB drive into a running computer, the File Explorer [also called "Windows Explorer" and "Explorer] should activate, as shown.

The red arrows show the new drive. This computer named it "J". Your computer will letter the removable drive as it desires. This is highlighted with the two red arrows. Please note that the colored arrows are added to the illustrations by me and will not appear on your system.
How To Safely Remove The Drive.

When you right-click on the USB drive [in this case drive J], which is highlighted and a red arrow indicating its location, a menu appears. "Eject" is the option, with the blue arrow, that you should left-click on.
If Windows is not accessing the data or directories, music should sound and you will see a message such as shown below.
When Is It Unsafe To Remove A Drive

When you press "Eject" and it is unsafe to remove the drive, the message below will pop-up. In this case close any program that is accessing files on the drive, such as movies, photos, applications, etc. and select "Try Again." If all is closed, the message above appears with its music to inform you that it is Okay to remove the drive.
Al Fin

I trust that this was of assistance or interest. If you have any questions that need to be answered, on this or other longarming or quilting topics, then please write to me at or call 219.255.8085.

Thank you for your time and interest.
May The Lord Richly Bless You!
Rick & Ruth Grihalva
At Forever In Stitches our goal is to further the art of quilting and longarming.
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