I recently was unable to detach my external HD from a PC, why is that

I have an external HD to transfer files between 2 PCs. Today while trying to do that after I was done I clicked on the ‘safely remove hardware and eject media’ icon but it wasn’t showing the external HD. So I opened the ‘computer’ box and it showed the hard drive, but I didn’t see any options there to eject.

Finally I decided to just shut the PC it was attached to down, but even with that I could still feel the disc spinning inside of the hard drive. Not knowing what to do, I unplugged the PC it was attached to and then disconnected the hard drive.

When I reconnected the external HD to my original PC it asked me to do a scan of the disc. It scanned it and found no files were damaged.

Why did this happen, and how can I prevent it? I had no options to safely disconnect the HD. And I don’t know why the hard drive was still spinning because I was done transferring files.

The technical term for it is a glitch.

Although, it should be noted, that reason you have to go through the ritual of clicking the ‘safely remove hardware and eject media’ icon is because files do not always get written to the external media right when you tell the computer to do so. If it is busy with something else, the computer may wait until later to actually do what you told it to. Using the ‘eject media’ icon forces it to deal with any stuff like that that it has been waiting on. However, as this didn’t work in your case, what you experienced was a glitch. Don’t sweat it. Computers are very complicated machines, and they do weird stuff for no apparent reason sometimes.

Sometimes it will give you an error message saying it is in use when it obviously is not. I that case, a virus or malware scanner was probably looking at it. Tell them to not automatically do that. Also, there are programs that will make sure everything using it is closed. Your case might be a combination of that and “glitch.”

That said, if it is optimized for fast removal, it is probably okay to remove if the light is not currently flashing and no data is being transferred.

Just to be clear, you never actually ever got the chance to click the removal button? The drive was not listed from the start?

Half the time (with Windows 7) when I click the “Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media” thing before removing a USB flash drive it gives me a dire warning saying there’s a program still using it, even when I’ve shut down all the programs with the Task Manager. This really pisses me off, because it won’t tell you what program it thinks is using the drive.

Eventually I pull the flash drive out anyway and nothing bad happens.

Do you have any idea how to make this annoying “glitch” stop? (Or at least find out what program it thinks is using the drive?)

The safely remove icon was there (the USB plug with a green checkmark next to it), but the hard drive wasn’t listed as a device that I could detach.

I think that this is the program I used mentioned above to some success. Freeware. You can kill whatever’s using it, and more importantly see what program it is so that you can tell AV to not scan or index external drives unless you ask for it manuall.y

Are you sure you felt the HDD spinning once the PC was off, or was it maybe the external enclosure’s fan?

I don’t know, I just know when I picked it up even after I shut off (but before I unplugged) the PC it was attached to I could feel and hear something inside of it spinning.