Windows 10, version 1809 and later: Change in default removal policy for external storage media

Applies to: Windows 10, version 1809

Summary


Windows defines two main policies, Quick removal and Better performance, that control how the system interacts with external storage devices such as USB thumb drives or Thunderbolt-enabled external drives. Beginning in Windows 10 version 1809, the default policy is Quick removal.

In earlier versions of Windows the default policy was Better performance.

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.

More information


You can use the storage device policy setting to change the manner in which Windows manages storage devices to better meet your needs. The policy settings have the following effects:

  • Quick removal. This policy manages storage operations in a manner that keeps the device ready to remove at any time. You can remove the device without using the Safely Remove Hardware process. However, to do this, Windows cannot cache disk write operations. This may degrade system performance.
  • Better performance. This policy manages storage operations in a manner that improves system performance. When this policy is in effect, Windows can cache write operations to the external device. However, you must use the Safely Remove Hardware process to remove the external drive. The Safely Remove Hardware process protects the integrity of data on the device by making sure that all cached operations finish.

To change the policy for an external storage device, follow these steps:

  1. Connect the device to the computer.
  2. Right-click Start, and then select File Explorer.
  3. In File Explorer, identify the letter or label that is associated with the device (for example, USB Drive (D:)).
  4. Right-click Start, and then select Disk Management.
  5. In the lower section of the Disk Management window, right-click the label of the device, and then click Properties.
    In Disk Management, right-click the device and click Properties.
  6. Select Policies, and then select the policy you want to use.
    Policy options for disk management