Join our investing community

USB Pen Drive Question

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Jayar, 21st Nov, 2005.

  1. Jayar

    Jayar Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    15th Aug, 2005
    Posts:
    130
    Hi,
    When using a USB pen-drive to copy files from one PC to another, is it necessary to always go through the procedure of 'Safely Removing Hardware'? Have been hot-swapping on my work PCs for quite a while now with no problems, but need someone elses views, if I could.
    Thanks in advance,
    Jayar
     
  2. MrDarcy

    MrDarcy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    13th Sep, 2005
    Posts:
    283
    Location:
    Sydney
    I think on most modern PC's no need, they transfer so fast. I usually just right click on thr drive and select "eject", that's quicker than the whole remove hardware business.
     
  3. Nigel Ward

    Nigel Ward Team InvestEd

    Joined:
    10th Jun, 2005
    Posts:
    1,172
    Aren't they just plug and play since windows 2000? ie stick it in, the computer recognises there's a new drive, transfer files to or from it by drop and drag and then once it's finished writing/reading just pull it out of the usb socket?

    Sorry maybe i'm missing your query? :confused:

    Cheers
    N.
     
  4. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Co-founder Staff Member

    Joined:
    9th Jun, 2005
    Posts:
    4,619
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    You do need to be careful with some types of devices when you are writing data to them.

    The problem is with the write caches. What this means is that when you go to write data to the drive, Windows sometimes holds the data in memory rather than writing it directly to the drive - makes the computer run more quickly. The safely remove hardware operation informs the Windows and the drive that it is about to be disconnected and that it should finalise any operations that were pending immediately.
    If you remove the drive before allowing this operation to complete, there is the potential to lose data.

    You can tell Windows not to use write caching for some types of devices, and indeed, your device might be set up like this ... in which case there generally is no problem. Personally, I'm still paranoid enough to do it every time anyway ... but I have on occasion been too impatient and just pulled it out without any adverse effects - especially when just reading from the drive and not writing to it.

    In summary: my advice is to use the safely remove hardware function when removing USB drives and such.

    I would suggest, however, that external USB hard drives are much more important to remove safely than thumb drives.
     
  5. Jayar

    Jayar Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    15th Aug, 2005
    Posts:
    130
    Thanks for your replies, and advice.
    Jayar
     
  6. MichaelWhyte

    MichaelWhyte Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    5th Oct, 2005
    Posts:
    798
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW
    Nigel,

    Yep, missed the point a bit. See SIM's reply which is what I was going to post. But, you're right, they should be plug and play devices now on newer operating systems. I can't get mine to plug and play on my old Windows 98 operating system on my old PC though. Works on my new P4 w2000 system, but the old P3 w98 can't do it. Need to find a driver for it and put it on a disk so I can "install" the hardware first. Pain in the you-know-what.

    Cheers,
    Michael.
     
  7. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Co-founder Staff Member

    Joined:
    9th Jun, 2005
    Posts:
    4,619
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Plug-and-Play refers to having the OS recognise a new device that has been inserted automatically. It doesn't (necessarily) mean being able to remove a device without any other actions.

    The vast majority of devices don't care if you just unplug them ... it only becomes an issue when caching has been used for storage type devices and the data might not be fully written to the device yet.