Fix It Now: Can't Eject External Hard Drive in Windows 10

This article delves into the common issue faced by Windows 10 users where they cannot eject their external hard drives safely. It provides a detailed exploration of various methods to resolve this issue, ensuring the safety of your data.


By Lori / Updated on February 20, 2024

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Have you ever encountered the stubborn "can't eject external hard drive Windows 10" notification? Oh boy, it can be as annoying as a mosquito buzzing in your ear at night. You've finished transferring your files, you're ready to pack up, but Windows 10 just won't let go of your external hard drive. Fear not!


This guide is your knight in shining armor, ready to rescue you from the clutches of this pesky problem. We'll dive into several methods to safely eject your hard drive and introduce you to MyRecover, a fantastic tool for when things go south with your data. Let's roll up our sleeves and tackle this together, shall we?

Why Can't I Eject My External Hard Drive in Windows 10?

Before we jump into solutions, let's understand the beast we're dealing with. The "can't eject external hard drive Windows 10" issue typically arises due to Windows accessing or writing to the drive.

This could be because of background processes you're unaware of, like a quick antivirus scan or Windows Update downloading something onto the drive. Knowing this, the aim is to safely tell these processes to take a hike so you can eject your hard drive without risking data corruption. Sounds doable, right?

Method 1: Use the Task Manager

Step 1: Right-click the taskbar and select "Task Manager."

Step 2: Look for any applications or processes that might be using the external drive. This includes file explorers, word processors, or any software you used to modify files on the drive.

Step 3: Select these processes and click "End task" to stop them.

This method is like telling loiterers to clear out. It's direct and usually effective. By shutting down the processes that are accessing your external hard drive, you're giving Windows the green light to safely eject it without any hiccups.

Method 2: Eject through This PC

Step 1: Open "This PC."

Step 2: Right-click your external hard drive and select "Eject."

Sometimes, the classic ways are the best. This is the digital equivalent of gently pulling your drive away from your computer. By ejecting your hard drive directly from "This PC," you're bypassing any potential conflicts that might arise from other applications accessing the drive.

Method 3: Use Disk Management

Step 1: Press Windows key + X and select "Disk Management."

Step 2: Right-click your external drive and choose "Eject."

This method is a bit more technical, like using the secret back door to get out of a building. Disk Management allows you to manage disk drives connected to your computer, including external hard drives. By ejecting your drive through Disk Management, you ensure that it's safely removed from the system without any lingering processes holding it back.

Method 4: Disable Quick Removal Setting

Step 1: Go back to "This PC," right-click your external drive, and select "Properties."

Step 2: Navigate to the "Hardware" tab, select your device, and click "Properties" again.

Step 3: Under "Policies," switch to "Better performance" and then safely eject your drive.

This method is akin to changing the rules of the game to make your exit easier. By switching your external hard drive to "Better performance" mode, you're allowing Windows to optimize data transfer speeds, which can help prevent any conflicts when ejecting the drive. Just make sure to safely eject it afterward to avoid any data loss or corruption.

Method 5: Log Off or Restart Your Computer

When all else fails, sometimes you just need to give your computer a little nudge by restarting it or logging off and then back on. It's the equivalent of resetting a stubborn lock.

By restarting your computer or logging off and back on, you're giving Windows a fresh start, which can help resolve any lingering issues that might be preventing you from ejecting your external hard drive.

MyRecover: Your Data Recovery Hero

Now, let's chat about MyRecover. It's your go-to tool when you need to recover lost data from your external hard drive. Whether it's due to accidental deletion or a failed ejection, MyRecover has got your back.


User-Friendly Interface: Easy to navigate, even if you're not tech-savvy.

Versatile Recovery Options: Whether you lost photos, documents, or entire partitions, MyRecover can retrieve them.

Preview Before Recovery: Check what you're recovering before you commit to it.

Recovery Steps:

Download and Install MyRecover: Simple and straightforward. Just head to the MyRecover website, download the software, and follow the on-screen instructions to install it on your computer.

Select Your Drive: Once installed, launch MyRecover and select the external hard drive you want to recover data from.

Scan for Lost Data: Let MyRecover scan your drive. This might take a while, depending on the size of your drive and the amount of data on it, so sit back and relax.

Preview and Recover: Once the scan is complete, MyRecover will display a list of recoverable files. You can preview them to ensure they're intact before proceeding with the recovery process. Once you're satisfied, simply select the files you want to recover and hit the "Recover" button.


Facing the "can't eject external hard drive Windows 10" dilemma can be frustrating, but it's not insurmountable. With the methods outlined above, you should be able to safely remove your hard drive in no time. And remember, accidents happen; if you ever lose data, MyRecover is there to help you retrieve it. So, breathe easy and happy computing!


What causes the "can't eject external hard drive Windows 10" issue?

This issue often occurs because Windows is still accessing or writing to the drive due to background processes.

Can failing to safely eject my hard drive cause data loss?

Yes, improperly ejecting your hard drive can lead to data corruption or loss.

Is MyRecover free to use?

MyRecover offers a free version with limited features. For full capabilities, a paid version is available.

How long does it take to recover data with MyRecover?

The time it takes depends on the size of your hard drive and the amount of data being recovered. Patience is key.

Can I prevent the "can't eject external hard drive Windows 10" issue from happening again?

While there's no guaranteed way to prevent it, safely ejecting your hard drive and ensuring no processes are using it before attempting to eject can minimize the chances.

Lori · Editor
Lori receives professional technical training since joining AOMEI, and aims at helping users troubleshoot problems on data recovery and protection. She focuses on simple, efficient and practical methods, and provides professional advice. Being able to help readers and users is her ultimate goal.