Do you really need to eject a USB device before unplugging it?

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Who has never hesitated when removing a USB key or any other USB device from a computer? Pull it out of its support in one fell swoop or simply indicate to your computer with a few mouse clicks that you are going to remove it. We have all asked ourselves this question once: is pre-ejection necessary? The answer is yes ; we explain why.

A simple gesture to avoid loss and damage

When you connect a USB device to its computer, a myriad of data transfers invisible to the naked eye take place quietly. Carelessly removing this accessory, without first ejecting it, risks interrupting these information flows, resulting in therefore a potential corruption, or even an irremediable loss of data in transfer. This negligence would be akin to abruptly closing a book in the middle of a sentence, condemning you to confusion the next time you open it.

Modern operating systems, such as Windows and macOS (the Sequoia version of which will arrive this fall), have conceptualized a technique called “write caching.” By this method, the data is first temporarily stored in RAM before being transferred to the target device. Since then, ejecting the accessory ensures that this information is fully routed before disconnection. This simple gesture prevents any risk of corrupted data or truncated files, which could occur if the latter could not be completely transferred from the memory cache.

Carelessly unplugging a device, without first ejecting it, can even cause physical damage. Some devices may suffer irreversible damage if they are disconnected unexpectedly while still operating.

Although this precaution does not apply to devices without storage capabilities, such as mice or keyboards, it is still essential for USB keys, external hard drives and SD cards. Please note:The risks of damage or loss are still limited if the device is not in writing.

If you are a Windows fan, eject your device using the “ Safely remove the device » at the bottom right of the taskbar, by clicking on the small check mark « Hidden icons “. If you are on macOS, open Finder and left under the “ Locations “, find your device and click on the ” Eject » to the right of your device name. A very simple habit to adopt that can save you a lot of inconvenience.

  • Ejecting a USB storage device virtually before doing so physically is necessary, whether on Mac or PC.
  • If this is not done correctly when it is being written, this may result in loss of data being transferred.
  • Without this manipulation, some devices may even be damaged.

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