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

Jean updated on Oct 18, 2018 to Storage Media Recovery | How-to Articles


This page discusses fixes and workarounds for an error message which is '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.' When you try to safely remove a USB flash drive or an external hard drive from a computer. Also, to avoid a permanent data loss from a USB device after unsafely unplugging, use the EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to make an instant recovery.

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. Run USB data recovery software.

Connect the USB flash drive to your computer and launch EaseUS USB data recovery software on your PC. Select your USB drive which marks as a removable disk, and click "Scan" to start finding your lost files.

Select USB to scan and find lost files

Step 2. Scan all lost files from USB.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard will thoroughly scan your USB flash drive and find all your lost data on it. After the scanning process,  use the Filter feature to filter a specific file type. You can check and preview found USB files in this program.

Scan USB drive to find lost files

Step 3. Restore all lost files from USB.

A double-click will allow you to preview the file results. Choose the target files and click "Recover" to save them to a secure location on your PC or other external storage devices.

Restore lost USB 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 is also applicable to the other three similar USB ejecting problems here.


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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files to better verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

About Data Recovery Wizard

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