Unable to safely remove my external drive

By | February 8, 2009

I have an older 80 GB hard drive that I’ve just relegated as an external hard drive by mounting it within an external casing. I thought all my backup problems were over from then on, but little did I know I would soon be facing a problem after I had copied gigabytes of data onto it. Guess what, the external drive just wouldn’t eject!

Now, this is quite a common problem faced by Windows users; sometimes an external drive like a USB drive or external hard disk just can’t be safely removed. Note: – You’re not advised to just unplug the thing, because it can corrupt the data on the drive.

I tried to restart my PC and then use the “safely remove hardware” option again, but to my surprise, the drive still gave me this error – “The device ‘Generic Volume’ cannot be stopped because a program is still accessing it.”


Now it looks like a problem, but what can it be? I closed all possible running programs and yet Windows is telling me a program is still accessing it? I tried to use Unlocker to find out what the problem was, but guess what, Unlocker was showing me nothing! No process was secretly using the USB drive – So what could it be?

Little did I guess the problem of not being able to eject the external drive was due to my trusted antivirus – Avast. That’s right; the Avast On-Access Scanner was accessing my external drive all the time! I stopped the On-Access scanning, and voila, I am now able to remove my external hard drive!


So next time, if you are having problems ejecting your USB drives, pay attention to the error message. If it tells you “there is a program still accessing it,” try shutting down all your antivirus programs, and then ejecting the external drive. But if the error message is something like this, “The device ‘Generic Volume’ cannot be stopped right now. Try stopping the device again later,” using a tool like Unlocker may help, or at least help diagnose the problem.

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