Safely remove hardware in Windows 10

Applies to: Windows 10

To avoid losing data, it's important to remove external hardware like hard drives and USB drives safely. 

  • Look for the Safely Remove Hardware icon on the taskbar. If you don't see it, select Show hidden icons . Press and hold (or right-click) the icon and select the hardware you want to remove.
  • If you can't find the Safely Remove Hardware icon, press and hold (or right-click) the taskbar and select Taskbar settings
  • Under Notification Area, choose Select which icons appear on the taskbar.
  • Scroll to Windows Explorer: Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media and turn it on.
  • If this doesn't work, make sure the device has stopped all activity like copying or syncing files. Select Start  > Settings  > Devices. Select the device, and click Remove device.
  • Finally, check with the hardware manufacturer for new drivers or other updates.