Windows Is Giving Up on Getting You to 'Safely Remove' USB Drives

With Windows 10 1809, Microsoft drops safe removal of USB drives as the default option

Better Performance has been the default but Microsoft switched the default to Quick Removal in Windows 10 version 1809.

The downside to this is that, because Windows now constantly caches in order to ensure there's no data loss, there could be some degradation in performance of the drive - probably imperceptible, but for big transfers, it could feel a bit sluggish.

The difference, however, is that the Quick removal option is a safer way of extracting a removable storage device, versus the previous default of "Better performance".

With "Quick removal" enabled, there is no need to use the Safely Remove Hardware process - but there may be a drop in performance. However, you must use the Safely Remove Hardware process to remove the external drive. The Quick removal policy makes it so that the system is always in a state that's prepared to eject a USB drive, but at the cost of speed as Windows can not cache disk write operations. It is noted that "you can change the policy setting for each external device, and the policy that you set remains in effect if you disconnect the device and then connect it again to the same computer port".

However, starting with the dreaded October 2018 Update (1809) Microsoft has changed the default for USB drives to allow them to be fast-removed safely without any mouse-clicks first.

Optional: select "enable write caching on the device to improve system performance".

Windows has long warned its users that removing external storage without ejecting it first can lead to data loss. Beginning in Windows 10 version 1809, the default policy is Quick removal. You can also do a blanket override in the Disk Management tool built into Windows.

All you have to do is right click on the Start button and go to Disk Management, right click on the USB drive, select Properties, Policies, and you will be able to change the removal policy for that specific USB device in this window.

Select Policies, and then select the policy you want to use.

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