Should you pull out your USB or eject?


How many times have you pulled out your USB without ejecting it from the computer? Does it really matter to eject or what will really happen, if you don’t? If everything works well when you plug it in next time (luckily), you may be wondering which method would be best to follow. Let’s go deeper into more details before we conclude with an answer.

By design, our operating systems are programmed to treat external devices (like USB) as it will be accessible indefinitely. It may not harm if you pull out the USB if it is only reading data. But, still, the operating system may interpret this incorrectly and may prompt you with error messages like data loss, file corruptions, application hanging, or etc.

How does the data is written to the USB? In terms of any changes required to be written to the USB, operating systems do not directly keep on writing every time you make changes hindering efficiency. Instead, it will keep your data and write it when needed or told to do so. Meaning operating systems are designed to preserve efficiency, so it will keep data in cache until there are more changes collected or may write on demand when the save button is clicked.

When safely ejecting the USB, the operating system may/ and will alert any application, that it is time to take appropriate action as the USB to be removed soon from the computer. This explains that pulling out the USB directly may result in data loss as it will not give a chance to the operating system to take necessary action timely.

Anyway, the latest operating systems are designed to write changes as quickly as possible without caching. So, what makes the difference? Actually, we cannot assume ‘when’ exactly, the data has been written to the USB. So, this will make an uncertain situation for you to decide when to remove the USB without ejecting properly as it depends on both the operating system function and what was really happening with the USB at the time of removal.

So the bottom line turns out to be that, ejecting would actually help you to save your data and maybe the application as well (maybe from hanging, etc). So, it will be a best practice to eject safely, before pulling out the USB, rather losing all the data not knowing what has happened.

Hope you learned something useful and post your feedback and comments here.

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