To safely remove or not to safely remove? That is the question… although another one might reasonably be, “well, what difference does it really make?”. Since the arrival of USB drives, we have been warned that they need to be “safely removed” using the correct method in Windows, rather than just being yanked out — but now this changes.
With Windows 10 1809, Microsoft is changing the default setting that’s applied to USB drives and other removable media. The change means that the default policy applied to removable storage devices is Quick Removal rather than Better Performance — so you can now just pull it out without a second thought.
The change comes as the October 2018 Update rolls out, and Microsoft explains that: “Windows defines two main policies, Quick removal and Better performance, that control how the system interacts with external storage devices such as USB thumb drives or Thunderbolt-enabled external drives. Beginning in Windows 10 version 1809, the default policy is Quick removal. “.
With “Quick removal” enabled, there is no need to use the Safely Remove Hardware process — but there may be a drop in performance.
If you would rather use the Better Performance option — which can be enabled and disabled on a device by device basis — Microsoft explains how to enable this:
- Connect the device to the computer.
- Right-click Start, and then select File Explorer.
- In File Explorer, identify the letter or label that is associated with the device (for example, USB Drive (D:)).
- Right-click Start, and then select Disk Management.
- In the lower section of the Disk Management window, right-click the label of the device, and then click Properties.
- Select Policies, and then select the policy you want to use.
Microsoft suggests that if you select the “Better performance” option you should also select “Enable write caching on the device”. The company also notes:
If you use the “Better performance” policy, you must use the Safely Remove Hardware process to remove the device. If you remove or disconnect the device without following the safe removal instructions, you risk losing data.