Does unplugging a usb hard drive damage it?

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by leafeon34, Jan 17, 2016.

  1. leafeon34
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    leafeon34 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    I have a really shitty laptop which has 3 usb ports but only one of them actually works. When I transfer files from my laptop to my external hard drive I unplug my mouse and when I'm done I unplug the external HDD and plug my mouse back in without using "safely remove hardware".

    Am I shortening the hard drive's life cycle by doing this?
     
  2. migles

    migles Mei the sexiest bae

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    sometimes for reasons (i think related to buffers and and memory having their controllers) , the computer shows it is done copying files but actually for the next seconds is still writing the data.. if you unplug without the safely remove, some data may be corrupted, i seen this happen.. specially when the copy window closes and imediatly i unplug the drive...

    the "safely remove" exists for a reason... and you should use it..
    as for shortning the hard drive's life cycle i can't really answer.. but i do think it helps..
     
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  3. Originality

    Originality Chibi-neko

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    The "safely remove hardware" function sends a command for the USB drive to finish writing the cache to the disk. Once the cache is empty (i.e. no queued read/write commands remaining), Windows will report that it's "safe" to remove the hardware. If you remove the USB before this, anything left in the cache (i.e. unwritten or incomplete) will be lost/corrupted. There is also a small chance that if the drive is in the middle of a write operation the split second you cut the power, it could cause a scratch on the platter leading to a bad sector.

    There are ways to change the way USB drives are handled, where it is "safer" to remove them at any time and don't require you going to "safely remove hardware", but I don't remember the details. Something to do with how cameras are detected and handled, which you can do the same with normal USB drives.
     
  4. leafeon34
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    leafeon34 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    I don't think that not using safely remove hardware has caused any data corruption for me before, but then again I'm not one to pull out the usb cable the moment data has finished copying.

    Nonetheless, for now on I will use the "safely remove hardware" function religiously.
     
  5. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    You can disable write caching on USB drives (and possibly some hard drives)
    http://knowledge.seagate.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/187751en
    http://www.thewindowsclub.com/enable-disable-disk-write-caching-windows-7-8
    http://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/21904-disk-write-caching-enable-disable-windows-10-a.html

    While on Windows it will tend not to cause you trouble I do have to say Linux and BSD will see that chance of fun and games rise somewhat as a lot of the file systems they use (and operating logic on the system) does make heavy use of caching. Likewise if you ever do that to a server and you are not hot swapping a RAID setup then it might not do any damage to the system, those higher up than you will probably give you a kicking though.

    Edit. http://www.dicksmith.com.au/computers-tablets/computer-accessories/usb-hubs do also exist.
     
  6. migles

    migles Mei the sexiest bae

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