Unplugging your external hard drive without ejecting risks data loss or corruption. Even when you think your system has finished writing data to the drive, the process may not be complete. It happens because of the write caching process, which caches some data to the RAM before writing to the drive.
This is why you need to eject the external drive. It ensures all the processes have finished, and your system is not using the drive for read/write operations. So, you can safely remove your external hard drive after ejecting it.
How to Eject External Hard Drive on Windows
There are many ways to eject an external hard drive on Windows, which we have provided below. If you encounter any error during the process, close all active processes and try again. It’s also better to disable third-party antivirus, update your USB drivers and restart your PC.
Using the Action Center Eject Icon
The most convenient method of ejecting the external hard drive is to use the eject icon. You can find it in the action center on the right side of the taskbar.
Click on the icon and select the external hard drive you want to remove. You might have to click the upward-arrow icon to find the eject icon.
From the File Explorer
Another easy method is to eject the external drive from the file explorer. To do so,
Open File Explorer and navigate to This PC.
Right-click on the external drive and select Eject.
You can also right-click on the drive from the Navigation Pane and select Eject.
With the Safely Remove Hardware Wizard
Using the Safely Remove Hardware Wizard is an old method for ejecting external hardware. However, you can still use it in Windows 11 or below. It only allows removing external hard drives and not USB pen drives.
Microsoft may remove this utility in the future. But in the meantime, here’s how you can eject the drive using this wizard:
Press Win + R to open Run.
Type RunDll32 shell32.dll, Control_RunDLL hotplug.dll and press Enter. Make sure to match the case for Control_RunDLL.
Tick Display device components.
Select the external hard drive you want to eject and click Stop.
Select the drive volume again and click Ok twice.
Through Device Settings
You can also eject external hard drives through your device settings. Here are the necessary steps for the method:
Press Win + I to open Settings.
Go to Bluetooth & devices > Devices.
Look for the external drive and click the triple-dot next to it.
Select Remove device and then Yes.
From the Disk Management
The Disk Management utility allows you to manage and control your storage disks. You can naturally use it to eject external hard drives. Here’s how you can eject them using this program:
Open Run and enter diskmgmt.msc.
Look for the external disk. It should include the word – Removable under the disk number.
Right-click on it and select Eject.
Using Command-line Interface
If you are familiar with the CLI, you might want to use it to eject your external drives. Follow the instructions below to do so:
Open Run and enter diskpart.
On the diskpart CLI, enter the following commands:
list volume (note the volume number of the external drive)
select volume “number”
remove all dismount
Shut down the PC and Remove External Drive
Proper shut down of your PC removes the power of its hardware components in a controlled manner. So, you can safely remove your hard drive after that as no read/write operation is taking place. And you won’t lose the hard drive data while doing so.
But you must ensure that the power indicators and CPU fan have stopped running before disconnecting the hard drive.
Also, note that abrupt power failure during data transfer will still corrupt the data. So, make sure to shut down your system properly.
How to Eject External Hard Drive on Mac
You can also shut down your PC to safely remove the external hard drive on Mac. But before that, it’s better to use one of the following methods first. In case they don’t work, feel free to shut down the Mac device and remove the drive.
From the Desktop Icon
After connecting an external drive, its icon appears on your Mac desktop. The easiest way to eject the drive is to right-click on the icon and select Eject “drive name”.
You can also press Command + E after clicking on the icon to eject it.
Through the Finder
You can also remove the hard drive from the Finder. To do so,
Look for the external hard drive on the left sidebar.
Click the eject button next to the drive.
From the Finder Menu
Another method is to select the eject option from the Finder menu. Here’s how you can do so:
From the menu bar, select File > Eject … (name of external drive).
Using the Trash Can
Unlike other Operating Systems, Mac’s trash can has more uses than simply temporarily deleting files. You can also use it to eject the external drive in the following way:
Click and drag the desktop volume icon to the trash can. The trash can turns into an eject icon.
Drop the drive volume here to eject the drive.
Using Mac Terminal
Using the Terminal is another easy way to eject the external drive on Mac. To do so, open the Terminal and enter the following commands:
drutil list (note the drive number of your external hard drive)
drutil tray eject “drive number”
From the Disk Utility
The Disk Utility is a Mac program to manage disk-related activities. Here are the steps to use it to eject an external hard drive:
Click on the Apple Menu and select Go > Utilities.
Look for and open Disk Utility.
On the left sidebar, look for your external drive and click the eject button next to it.
How to Eject External Hard Drive on Chromebook
Here’s how you can eject an external hard drive on a Chromebook PC:
Click on the App Launcher and open Files.
From the left sidebar, click on the eject button next to your external drive. You can also right-click on the drive and select Eject Device.
Wait for a few seconds and pull out the external hard drive.
If you can use this method to eject the drive, shut down Chromebook and unplug the drive.
How to Eject External Hard Drive on Linux
Some of the methods to eject an external hard drive on Linux are as follows:
Using GUI File Manager
While people know Linux for its strong CLI capabilities, you can still use the GUI for many processes. Follow these directions to use the File Manager to eject a hard drive on Linux:
Open the File Manager.
Locate the external drive in the sidebar and click on the eject icon on its side. Or right-click on the drive and select Eject.
Through the Terminal
Most Linux users probably want to use the Terminal for various tasks, including ejecting external drives. Here are the necessary steps for this process:
Open the Terminal and enter the following commands:
eject /dev/sdb or umount /dev/sdb (replace /dev/sdb with your external hard disk drive)