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My daughter had her thumb drive plugged into my desktop, doing some work. She finished, logged off of her account and I logged into mine. I noticed that she left her thumb drive in the USB port, and so I tried to safely eject it, but I get the following message:

Problem Ejecting USB Mass Storage Device

This device is currently in use. Close any programs or windows that might be using the device, and then try again.

OK, I give up. I just logged into my account and the first thing I did was try to eject her thumb drive. What in heck is currently using it? I don't have anything else opened/running when I got that message. How do I determine what program is apparently running and doing whatever it is, against that USB drive? How do I get whatever it is, to stop so I can safely disconnect the thing?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 12 down vote accepted

You can use Unlocker to find out what program has it opened (figure 1) then close that program (Unlocker has a portable version). If it is Explorer, you can restart Explorer—an easy way is to hold Ctrl+Shift and right-click a blank area in the Start menu (figure 2). If you cannot exit the program, you can use Unlocker to force the handle closed.


Figure 1: Unlocker showing processes with open handles

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Figure 2: Restarting Explorer in Windows 7

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So how do you get the "exit explorer" context menu? –  Moab Feb 8 '12 at 3:05
    
Oops, sorry. Fixed. (I don’t use that method; the few times I actually had to restart Explorer in Win7, I used an option called “Restart Explorer”. I can’t figure out where it is right now—I’m in XP at the moment—but next time I’m in 7, I’ll see if I can find it and add it as well. And no, it was not a third-party one that used taskkill, it was built-in, to my surprise—ie, Microsoft basically acknowledging the need to restart Explorer.) –  Synetech Feb 8 '12 at 3:11
    
+1 for the "Exit Explorer" option. Much easier than opening Task Manger and finding the process. –  Sonic42 Feb 8 '12 at 5:05
    
After exit of explorer using context menu, how do you get explorer to reload? ctrl+alt+del twice allows you to open task manager to do it, so it seems better to use task manager to exit explorer in the first place. –  Moab Feb 8 '12 at 17:49
    
It doesn’t reload automatically? It should, that’s part of Explorer (and there’s no point in building in an option to kill Explorer without it restarting). Check the task-manager to see if there are other instances. I find that when there is more than one instance of Explorer.exe the auto-restart function gets blocked (or at most opens an actual Explorer window instead of just the desktop). –  Synetech Feb 8 '12 at 18:00

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