Hello I have windows Vista on an hp pavilion laptop. When I plug in a usb the computer recognizes the hard drive/ flash drive/ other usb device but it never lets me safley remove it, the safley remove icon does not come up in the lower right of my screen like it should and even if I go to computer then right click the drive it wont give me an option to remove it. I dont know what to do... do you think this is a hardware problem?

Oh yea my computer also have a SD card reader and I can safley remove that just not usb

Thanks for your time :D


Dec 12, 2009
If you have the Norton Protected Recycle Bin, it may be locking your drive open or a file on the drive open. Can you remove the Norton Protected Recycle Bin feature from the Recycle Bin.

Try setting the policies for the USB drive.
Right click the drive and choose properties
Go to hardware and select your generic storage device
Go to the properties again.
Find the policies tab
Check if the device is optimized for performance or quick removal.
If its optimized for quick removal you will get the message you are referring to.
Supposedly you don't have to use the safely remove hardware process when this is checked.

Make sure that there are no programs accessing the drive when you are trying to remove it. This will make the drive think its in use. If you have Word document open from the drive for example, close the document and also close Word as well. Outlook can cause this as well even though it shouldn't be using the drive.

Another process involves editing the Recycle Bin properties:
Right click on Recycle Bin > Properties.
Check box for Configure drive independently option.
Click the tab with your USB drive. (Your drive may or may not be listed here)
Check the box with option that says Do not move files to the Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately when deleted.

Keep in mind files deleted from the your USB HDD drive will no longer move to your Recycle Bin, but will be deleted permanently.