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I've got an USB-stick with my keys and passwords on it and I'd like to remove it from the PC when I leave my desk, but without having to check the filesystem on it every time as it happens if I do it now.

Is there any possibility to improve the situation under Vista?

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closed as off topic by voretaq7 Feb 8 '12 at 5:09

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

Personally I have never had a problem with data loss in XP or Vista when simply pulling a USB stick out. The key factor is to make sure data is not being written to the disk when removing it.

I do reformat my USB devices to use NTFS tho, (which they typically are formated as FAT32 from the factory).

Alternately you will see an icon near your PC clock to safely remove a device from the system. Simply double click and select USB Mass Storage Devices and select the device by drive letter/model. Then pull the device.

(Edit to add): Optionally, make sure you have the device set to "Optimize for Quick Removal" in the device properties, under the device manager. This turns off caching of files (which is usually the default setting for removable devices).

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+1 to Optimize for Quick Removal. Otherwise, writes are cached and you will be burned if you don't religiously use Safe Removal. – Mark Brackett May 20 '09 at 16:17
I have had jump drives become completely corrupted by not using safe removal, but it is rare. – Jack B Nimble May 20 '09 at 17:18
Not saying it is impossible to corrupt a USB drive by just pulling it...but with the various and numerous drives I have used, I usually wash them before getting a corruption (well, I've washed 4 so far (only one died...probably due to drying it too :( ), but have never had a unusable disk from a pull. YMMV. – user2626 May 20 '09 at 17:50
Thanks, the "Optimize for Quick Removal" sounds like what I was searching for. The strange thing is that the option is disabled on my thumb drive, but there is an extra checkbox to disable write caching. I'll try that one. – David Schmitt May 21 '09 at 9:20

Does your USB drive have a read-only switch? Make it read-only, if you don't try to write anything, then you should be able to pull it out safely without any loss. If you don't have a switch, check the drive manufacturer's site, some have a software tool that allows you to mark the drive as read-only.

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