FIX: Can’t Eject USB Drive in Windows 10, 8.1

By: Radu Tyrsina
4 minute read

SOLVED: Problem ejecting USB mass storage device

  1. Check your USB ports
  2. Update USB drivers
  3. Check Bluetooth Support Service settings
  4. Make sure no USB file is in use
  5. Scan your computer
  6. Run the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter

Even if the Windows 10, Windows 8.1 update fixes a lot of bugs and glitches that were present in previous Windows versions, there are still plenty remaining. We try to solve a problem with USB drives which can’t be ejected in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1.
can't eject usb windows 8.1 A few Windows 10, Windows 8.1 users have been complaining that they can’t eject USB drives from the ‘Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media icon’ which usually pops out on the low right corner when you plug in a USB drive, just as in the above image. This is quite a problem, since if you have important data on your device, you want to make sure that it doesn’t get lost. Here is the complaint of one of those suffering from this:

Hi, my partner’s laptop was just upgraded to Win 8.1. Most things seem okay after the upgrade (thank you for the Start/Windows button…), but where before clicking on the ‘Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media’ icon in the Taskbar showed any USB drives attached to be ejected, the name of the drive is there but is now greyed out and can’t be clicked on. I’ve tried this with several USB stick drives and it’s the same for each of them. I can open My Computer/This PC and eject the drive there, although the some of the icons there are strangely flickering which makes it difficult to right-click and eject the device.

Solutions for USB ejecting problems in Windows 10, 8.1

1. Check your USB ports

This might seem as a silly, if not stupid advice, but in my case, this was exactly the problem – make sure that your USB port is clean and that there’s no dust inside it, or even worse, that it is not damaged. There might be some faulty circuitry which won’t get fixed if you solve this via software.

— RELATED: How to Improve your USB Data Transfer in Windows 10

2. Update USB drivers

Go to Device Manager and from there pick Universal Serial Bus controllers. The first thing that you can do is scan for hardware changes right after you plug in your USB drive, so that you could force it to “recognize” it better.

device manager scan for hardware changes

If you see an exclamation market, then reinstall the drivers. Even if there isn’t one, then uninstall and install again the drivers for the affected device, as shown in the screenshot below.

uninstall USB controller

3. Check Bluetooth Support Service settings

Type Services.msc into the run command, look for Bluetooth Support Service, double-click to open its Properties window and then make sure Startup type is NOT set to Disabled. You should set it to Automatic (Delayed Start); and click Apply after that.

bluetooth support service automatic startup

4. Make sure no USB file is in use

Your computer won’t eject USB drives if there is any file, folder or app in use. Make sure there is no file or program running from the USB flash drive. Also, make sure that your antivirus is not currently scanning your USB device for malware and virus infections as this may also prevent you from removing the USB device.

— RELATED: How to eject USB devices from Windows 10, 8.1 without any worries

5. Scan your computer

Particular malware or virus infections may affect your computer’s capability of ejecting USB devices. As a result, run a full system antivirus scan and then try to eject the problematic device again.

6. Run the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter

If nothing works, maybe the Hardware and Device troubleshooter can help you fix this problem. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot > select and launch the troubleshooter as shown in the screenshot below.

troubleshoot hardware and devices

 

 

On Windows 8.1, you can launch the troubleshooter from Control Panel.

hardware and devices troubleshooter control panel

We recommend you to download this tool (100% safe and tested by us)  to fix various PC problems, such as hardware failure, malware and file loss.

We will be gathering more solutions that we know have a direct effect on this, and you if you also happen to know any working fixes, let us know by leaving your comment in the field from below.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2014 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.

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