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Good news for geeks the world over - you no longer need to eject USB sticks!
Microsoft have changed the default Windows policy for writing to USB sticks, which means that you no longer have to worry about safely ejecting them.

Posted by Andy Brown on 16 January 2020

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You no longer need to eject USB sticks!

Do you recognise yourself from the following description:

  • You turn off plug switches at the mains before you leave your home or office;
  • You always put the mortice lock and alarm on, even when you're just nipping out to buy some milk; and
  • You always eject your USB sticks after you've finished using them.

Here's what I'm talking about:

Ejecting a USB stick

You know who you are!


I don't know about you, but I've always had the nagging doubt that I may corrupt my USB stick (or worse, my laptop hard disk) by pulling out too early (I blame my Catholic upbringing).  The good news now is that you don't need to do this, as Microsoft have changed the default way that Windows writes to USB sticks.  In brief, there are two policies (and I'm summarising here):

Policy Name What it means
A Better performance Data is cached while you're writing to a USB stick, meaning that you can have problems if you eject it during the write process.
B Quick removal No caching happens, so you can remove a USB stick at any time.

From Windows 10 version 1809 onwards, Microsoft have changed the default USB stick policy from A to B, implying that it may take longer to write to USB sticks but you will be able to interrupt the process.

It is possible to change the default policy back to A, as described in the article I've linked to above, but why would you want to?

To find out which version of Windows you're using, by the way, run the WINVER program:

Windows version

1903 is bigger than 1809, so I can pull my USB sticks out with abandon.

So yank away, computer users of the world, and enjoy your freedom! 

The other Wise Owl Andy has pointed out that you've actually been able to do this since Windows 7, as this article shows.  I'm not sure whether Microsoft reset their policy or not after this date, but I certainly didn't know about it.

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