Safely Remove Hardware is the best way to remove USB and devices. Files and Folders are open? This will prevent device corruption. External HDD and flash drives need to close all the associated programs and processes.

If any process related to the device is running, you get a error message that

This device is currently in use. Close any programs or windows that might be using the device, and then try again.



USB Flash drives also have this problem in common. Taskbar can be a culprit if there is something wrong with the Windows Explorer process. You need to restart it.

Quick Removal is another option after the 1803 update of Windows 10. Most of the below screenshots are taken after the 20H2 update. So many of the solutions that are proposed here should work even after the 2004 update.


Unsafe Removal can cause disk damage. It is always better to select disk and remove them when there is no write or copy operation. External Device is where you are likely to do this kind of operation. Files from USB should always be kept clean of viruses.

This Device is Currently in Use, but It’s Not

This also can be a fake error in disguise!

Corrupted Files can make this issue look bigger. You need to do anti-virus and anti-malware scan if the disk is having some rogue virus. The “Microsoft Defender” does a good job in Windows 10 to keep such ransomware and rogue tools at bay.

Scanning process can also halt this procedure. As in the case of Seagate hard-drives, it is problem of Windows 10 default anti-virus. It locks the devices that makes it difficult to remove this error without restarting the computer.

If you check the Event Viewer for logs, you can see this typical message. But you cannot “End the Task” or “Process” related to the Windows Defender.

A common problem with Seagate USB HDD devices. This error seems to show even after applying all the below solutions.

Best Fix for Safe Removal of Seagate USB HDD from Windows 10 64 bit

The best solution to remove Seagate USB Mass Storage devices without causing any problem to them. In many cases the error of “USB currently in use” shows up after Safe Removal. Make sure all the browsers, File Explorer and files are closed. Then try this operation. As a last resort you can apply these steps.

Total Time: 5 minutes

Click the up arrow icon and flash drive icon.

This should be visible at the bottom corner of your Windows 10 system.

Click the device and Eject Expansion – Seagate Expansion Drive

If the error comes up, close all the programs.

Do a Restart of your computer.

You can make use of the Start Menu to do this operation.

Then try the Safe Removal.

This works in many cases. Remove all kinds of USB devices this way, if any of the below solutions do not work.

But restarting your PC is troublesome. For non-Seagate devices, you can try the below fixes.

Solution #1 – Restart Windows Explorer Process in Windows 10

  • Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys together or search for Task Manager app.
  • The “Processes” tab is the default one. Otherwise, select it.
  • At the top, View > Group by type.
  • Under Windows Processes, you can find the “Windows Explorer” process.
  • Right click it and from the context menu, click on “Restart”.

Solution #2 – Use Device Manager Tool

  • Search for this Control panel item in Windows 10. Type “devmgmt.msc” in the Run dialog box by typing Win + R keys together.
  • Go to “Universal Serial Bus controllers” at the bottom.
  • Otherwise, find your USB device under any one of the categories.
  • A yellow exclamation mark triangle indicates that it is having some problems.
  • Try to disable/enable it twice to see if the problem is gone.
  • Otherwise, select “Uninstall device” from the context menu.
  • This will remove the device from your computer.
  • Then, Action > Scan for hardware changes at the top.
  • This should bring back the device.
  • Now use the option “Safely Remove the Hardware” from the notification area to remove it safely.

Solution #3 – Remove USB from “Devices and Printers”

  • Click the up arrow icon in the notification area at the bottom right hand corner.
  • Click on “Open Devices and Printers”.
  • Under the “Devices” category, click your USB.
  • Click on “Remove device”.
  • This should uninstall the device and has been safely removed.

Solution #4 – Disable the BackUp Program

There are a lot of backup utilities that backup files and folders on your computer. In Windows 10 itself, there is a built-in program. Many of you use it to create a system restore and do a backup.

This can come in-between your USB safe removal and the dreaded message. The best thing is to disable the program for a while, then try removing the device again. Also, make sure the Task Manager is closed.

Solution #5 – Event Viewer

  • Type in the search bar and open this app.
  • Windows logs > System
  • On the next side, you can see warnings, errors, critical errors.
  • For Source = Kernet-PnP, with typical Event ID 225, you should see a warning. (In the latest Windows 10 20H2 version. Earlier versions may have a different number).
  • Double-click that item.
  • The Event properties should show something like this –

The application \Device\HarddiskVolume1\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Platform\xxxx\MsMpEng.exe with process id 3336 stopped the removal or ejection for the device USB\VID_xxxx_xxxx\MSFTxxxxxWPB.

  • Note the process id. Here it is 3336.
  • Open the Task Manager > Details.
  • The Processes tab does not contain the PID.
  • Find the process name with that process ID.
  • Select the process and click on “End Task” or “End process tree”.
  • Now try to remove the USB stick.

If that option is not there, it means this solution does not work. Better restart your computer and see if the error is gone.

Solution #6 – Process Explorer to close the processes

  • This is a small program from SysInternals. Download this tool here.
  • Extract the ZIP file and open the “procexp” application program.
  • Note the PID from Event Viewer.
  • Press Ctrl + F and enter the PID value. You can also enter the USB  driver letter like H: in the search box.
  • Press Ctrl + H to show the lower pane. Find the related process file based on the drive letter. Right-click and Close Handle.
  • Check if this solves the USB removal error.

Solution #7 – Stop Windows Search Service

  • Type services.msc in the Run dialog box.
  • Since the indexing and search are integrated into the “Windows Search “ service, stop it.
  • Then try safe remove the device.

Solution #8 – Uncheck the Index option of the Drive

This method requires that few folders and files exist on the drive, if you want to disable the index of all the contents on the USB. Also, if there are too many on the same USB external disk, then you need to apply this solution to all. Note: It takes lot of time.

  • Open the File Explorer in Windows 10.
  • Right-click the driver letter and click on Properties.
  • Under General you can see the option that says “Allow files on this device to have contents indexed in addition to file properties”.  This is on by default. Uncheck it.

Now try to eject the USB device and see if the error is gone.

Final Thoughts …

Storage Device are most likely to have this problem. Since many of the usb drive are mass storage devices, you need to remove them safely. Disk Management is another tool that comes in handy to remove a device currently in use.

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