Fix 'This device is currently in use' Error and Safely Remove USB Mass Storage

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Jean updated on May 07, 2021 to Computer Instruction | How-to Articles

Follow the quick tutorial that has SOLVED 'this device is currently in use'. Roll down to the complete solutions.

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Find the program using USB Press "Ctrl + Alt + Del" keys to bring up the Task Manager. Access to the Task Manager, under the Process...Full steps
Fix 2. Eject in Disk Management Right-click "My Computer" (Windows 7) or "This PC" (Windows 10) and click Manage. Under Storage...Full steps
Fix 3. Eject in Device Manager Navigate to Start -> Control Panel -> Hardware and Sound -> Device Manager. Click Disk Drives...Full steps

Windows 7/Windows 10 Has Problems in Ejecting an External USB Drive

When you try to safely remove a USB flash drive or an external HDD from your computer by right-clicking the device icon in the system tray and choosing "Safe to remove hardware", it's not always working. Some users say that an error message stops them from unplugging their device in this way because it's in use by other window or program. This is the full error 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."

problem ejecting usb mass storage device. this device is currently in use.

How Do You React When a USB Mass Storage Device Which is Currently in Use?

The standard process to solve the "Problem Ejecting USB Mass Storage Device. This device is currently in use" should be like this:

Determine which program is currently running on the device and then close it.

However, it's not the real case as imagined. Most users didn't have anything opened or running program when they got that error message. As a result, they just ignored the error and simply disconnected the device with their hands.

Now the seemingly small problem gets big enough. As a consequence of abruptly removing a USB device that is currently used by a process, the device is going to suffer from an even more serious problem. You'll most likely to accept other USB issues, for example:

1. The external USB hard drive is not recognized after unplugging without safely ejecting.

2. The external USB hard drive is not accessible, access is denied. The file system displays as RAW.

3. The external USB hard drive cannot open for the second time you put it back on your computer.

Top tips

Download EaseUS hard drive recovery software whenever you find that the USB device has been horribly damaged due to the "unsafe removal" and want to recover data from the device badly. 

It's about three steps for retrieving data from a USB hard drive with the EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

Step 1. Choose the location where data loss happened, be it a hard disk drive, external disk, USB, or SD card, then click "Scan".

select a location and click scan

Step 2. You can click Filter to display only the file types you want while scanning. Go to "Deleted Files" or "Other Lost Files", find the files you want.

Choose files to recover

Step 3. After choosing the data, click "Recover" and choose a location on another drive to save the files.

Recover lost data

How to Fix "The device is currently in use' and Safely Remove the USB Mass Storage Device?

If you have tried the unified approaches, including sign out and log on the system, restart the system once or twice but still failed to remove the error.

Let's go through the other three steps to disable the real program which is taking up the USB resource.

Step 1. Find the application that is currently using the USB device in Task Manager

  1. Press "Ctrl + Alt + Del" keys to bring up the Task Manager.
  2. Access to the Task Manager, under the Process tab, locate the application(s) that are using your USB device.
  3. Right-click on the selected application and choose "End task".

end task in task manager to remove the error 'this device is currently in use'

Step 2. Eject the USB in Disk Management

  1. Right-click "My Computer" (Windows 7) or "This PC" (Windows 10) and click Manage.
  2. Under Storage, click Disk Management.
  3. Locate and right-click the USB device you want to remove and click Eject. (Note - If it's an external hard drive that you're going to disconnect in the Disk Management, you will get an option "Offline". The next time you put the drive back to the computer for use, you need to go back to the Disk Management and turn it to "Online" state.)

eject usb hard drive in disk management to fix the error 'this device is currently in use'

Step 3. Eject the USB in Device Manager

  1. Navigate to Start -> Control Panel -> Hardware and Sound -> Device Manager.
  2. Click Disk Drives. All the storage devices that are connected to your PC will be displayed.
  3. Right-click the device that has the problem to eject, and then select Uninstall.
  4. Click OK if you're told to confirm the operation.
  5. Wait for the process finishing and then remove the device.

uninstall usb in device manager to fix the error 'this device is currently in use'

Other "Problem Ejecting USB Mass Storage Device" Related Errors...

  • Windows can’t stop your ‘Generic volume’ device because it is in use. Close any program or windows that might be using the device, and then try again later.
  • The device 'Generic volume' cannot be stopped right now. Try stopping the device again later.
  • Windows is unable to stop the device 'USB Attached SCSI (UAS) Mass Storage Device'. Don't remove this device while it is still in use. Close any programs using this device and then remove it.

By the way, all the solutions given by this page are also applicable to the other three similar USB ejecting problems here.

People Also Ask

1. How do I eject a USB  drive that is currently in use?

Eject the USB in Disk Management:

Right-click My Computer (Windows 7) or This PC (Windows 10) and click Manage. Locate and right-click the USB device you want to remove and click Eject. If it is an external hard drive that you're going to disconnect in the Disk Management, you will get an option Offline.

2. How do I force eject a hard drive in Windows 10?

First right-click on the start menu icon. then open disk management, find a disk you want to eject. Right-click on the disk name and in the options just click offline. Then go and safely remove the drive from the toolbar.

3. How can I tell what program is using my external hard drive?

To open the window, launch Process Monitor and let it monitor the system, preferably when you get unknown or abnormal disk access, then go to the Tools menu - File Summary. This window will show information about reads, writes, events, file access times and the path to the files causing the activity.

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