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How To Ejecting Removable Media in Windows NT/Windows 2000/Windows XP

This article was previously published under Q165721
Win32 applications that run on Windows NT can programmatically eject mediafrom drives that have hardware support for media removal. However, theymust do so correctly to avoid corrupting the media. This article explainshow to eject media correctly on Windows NT.
Windows NT version 4.0 and later support ejecting media formatted with NTFSand FAT file systems without shutting down the machine. Windows NT 3.51 andearlier support the ejecting FAT formatted media without shutting down.However, Windows NT versions 3.51 and earlier do not support removing mediaformatted with NTFS while the system is running. On these versions 3.51 andearlier the system must be shut down in order to avoid corrupting data onthe media.

When a volume is mounted on Windows NT, there are two categories of readand write operations: 1) data operations performed by applications, and 2)file-system structure related operations performed by Windows NT. Thesecond category is used by Windows NT to maintain the file system itself,such as directory entries of files (for example, file times, sizes, names,etc.).

Win32 applications can use either cached or uncached access to files.Windows NT, on the other hand, caches some write operations to file-systemdata structures to implement a "lazy-writer" scheme. This allows Windows NTto defer some writes to disk until they are absolutely required. This way,only the latest changes need to be written to disk if the file system datais updated often.

Because Windows NT uses a lazy writer system to update file system datastructures on media, the media will be corrupted if the media is ejectedwhile the system is updating this information. To avoid this problem, Win32applications must take the following steps to correctly eject removablemedia and prevent possible data corruption:
  1. Call CreateFile with GENERIC_READ|GENERIC_WRITE, FILE_SHARE_READ|FILE_SHARE_WRITE, and OPEN_EXISTING. The lpFileName parameter should be \\.\X: (where X is the real drive letter). All other parameters can be zero.
  2. Lock the volume by issuing the FSCTL_LOCK_VOLUME IOCTL via DeviceIoControl. If any other application or the system is using the volume, this IOCTL fails. Once this function returns successfully, the application is guaranteed that the volume is not used by anything else in the system.
  3. Dismount the volume by issuing the FSCTL_DISMOUNT_VOLUME IOCTL. This causes the file system to remove all knowledge of the volume and to discard any internal information that it keeps regarding the volume.
  4. Make sure the media can be removed by issuing the IOCTL_STORAGE_MEDIA_REMOVAL IOCTL. Set the PreventMediaRemoval member of the PREVENT_MEDIA_REMOVAL structure to FALSE before calling this IOCTL. This stops the device from preventing the removal of the media.
  5. Eject the media with the IOCTL_STORAGE_EJECT_MEDIA IOCTL. If the device doesn't allow automatic ejection, then IOCTL_STORAGE_EJECT_MEDIA can be skipped and the user can be instructed to remove the media.
  6. Close the volume handle obtained in the first step or issue the FSCTL_UNLOCK_VOLUME IOCTL. This allows the drive to be used by other processes.
The following code demonstrates how to accomplish safe ejection using thesteps described above:
   #include <windows.h>   #include <winioctl.h>   #include <tchar.h>   #include <stdio.h>   // Prototypes   BOOL EjectVolume(TCHAR cDriveLetter);   HANDLE OpenVolume(TCHAR cDriveLetter);   BOOL LockVolume(HANDLE hVolume);   BOOL DismountVolume(HANDLE hVolume);   BOOL PreventRemovalOfVolume(HANDLE hVolume, BOOL fPrevent);   BOOL AutoEjectVolume(HANDLE hVolume);   BOOL CloseVolume(HANDLE hVolume);   LPTSTR szVolumeFormat = TEXT("\\\\.\\%c:");   LPTSTR szRootFormat = TEXT("%c:\\");   LPTSTR szErrorFormat = TEXT("Error %d: %s\n");   void ReportError(LPTSTR szMsg)   {       _tprintf(szErrorFormat, GetLastError(), szMsg);   }   HANDLE OpenVolume(TCHAR cDriveLetter)   {       HANDLE hVolume;       UINT uDriveType;       TCHAR szVolumeName[8];       TCHAR szRootName[5];       DWORD dwAccessFlags;       wsprintf(szRootName, szRootFormat, cDriveLetter);       uDriveType = GetDriveType(szRootName);       switch(uDriveType) {       case DRIVE_REMOVABLE:           dwAccessFlags = GENERIC_READ | GENERIC_WRITE;           break;       case DRIVE_CDROM:           dwAccessFlags = GENERIC_READ;           break;       default:           _tprintf(TEXT("Cannot eject.  Drive type is incorrect.\n"));           return INVALID_HANDLE_VALUE;       }       wsprintf(szVolumeName, szVolumeFormat, cDriveLetter);       hVolume = CreateFile(   szVolumeName,                               dwAccessFlags,                               FILE_SHARE_READ | FILE_SHARE_WRITE,                               NULL,                               OPEN_EXISTING,                               0,                               NULL );       if (hVolume == INVALID_HANDLE_VALUE)           ReportError(TEXT("CreateFile"));       return hVolume;   }   BOOL CloseVolume(HANDLE hVolume)   {       return CloseHandle(hVolume);   }   #define LOCK_TIMEOUT        10000       // 10 Seconds   #define LOCK_RETRIES        20   BOOL LockVolume(HANDLE hVolume)   {       DWORD dwBytesReturned;       DWORD dwSleepAmount;       int nTryCount;       dwSleepAmount = LOCK_TIMEOUT / LOCK_RETRIES;       // Do this in a loop until a timeout period has expired       for (nTryCount = 0; nTryCount < LOCK_RETRIES; nTryCount++) {           if (DeviceIoControl(hVolume,                               FSCTL_LOCK_VOLUME,                               NULL, 0,                               NULL, 0,                               &dwBytesReturned,                               NULL))               return TRUE;           Sleep(dwSleepAmount);       }       return FALSE;   }   BOOL DismountVolume(HANDLE hVolume)   {       DWORD dwBytesReturned;       return DeviceIoControl( hVolume,                               FSCTL_DISMOUNT_VOLUME,                               NULL, 0,                               NULL, 0,                               &dwBytesReturned,                               NULL);   }   BOOL PreventRemovalOfVolume(HANDLE hVolume, BOOL fPreventRemoval)   {       DWORD dwBytesReturned;       PREVENT_MEDIA_REMOVAL PMRBuffer;       PMRBuffer.PreventMediaRemoval = fPreventRemoval;       return DeviceIoControl( hVolume,                               IOCTL_STORAGE_MEDIA_REMOVAL,                               &PMRBuffer, sizeof(PREVENT_MEDIA_REMOVAL),                               NULL, 0,                               &dwBytesReturned,                               NULL);   }   AutoEjectVolume(HANDLE hVolume)   {       DWORD dwBytesReturned;       return DeviceIoControl( hVolume,                               IOCTL_STORAGE_EJECT_MEDIA,                               NULL, 0,                               NULL, 0,                               &dwBytesReturned,                               NULL);   }   BOOL EjectVolume(TCHAR cDriveLetter)   {       HANDLE hVolume;       BOOL fRemoveSafely = FALSE;       BOOL fAutoEject = FALSE;       // Open the volume.       hVolume = OpenVolume(cDriveLetter);       if (hVolume == INVALID_HANDLE_VALUE)           return FALSE;       // Lock and dismount the volume.       if (LockVolume(hVolume) && DismountVolume(hVolume)) {           fRemoveSafely = TRUE;           // Set prevent removal to false and eject the volume.           if (PreventRemovalOfVolume(hVolume, FALSE) &&               AutoEjectVolume(hVolume))               fAutoEject = TRUE;       }       // Close the volume so other processes can use the drive.       if (!CloseVolume(hVolume))           return FALSE;       if (fAutoEject)           printf("Media in Drive %c has been ejected safely.\n",                  cDriveLetter);       else {           if (fRemoveSafely)               printf("Media in Drive %c can be safely removed.\n",               cDriveLetter);       }       return TRUE;   }   void Usage()   {       printf("Usage: Eject <drive letter>\n\n");       return ;   }   void main(int argc, char * argv[])   {       if (argc != 2) {           Usage();           return ;       }       if (!EjectVolume(argv[1][0]))           printf("Failure ejecting drive %c.\n", argv[1][0]);       return ;   }				
For more information on the IOCTLs and functions discussed in this article,please see the Win32 SDK Documentation.

For information about how to eject media on Windows 95, please use thefollowing keywords to search the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
eject removable media
eject removable media disk disc

Article ID: 165721 - Last Review: 11/21/2006 15:45:00 - Revision: 4.2

Microsoft Win32 Application Programming Interface

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