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I always though that unmounting would flush the cache (if any) and it was then safe to remove the drive, but I see that there are two different options (and actually, sometimes eject shows up too, for a flash drive).

What are the differences, if any?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Unmount removes the drive from the root filesystem: e.g. if it was /media/flash it's no longer there, but you can mount it back. 'Safely remove' AFAIK does the same PLUS if powers the device off so external HDDs stop spinning

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