PC Doctor November 15, 2021

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Dear PC Doctor:

I brought my flash drive to the public library’s photocopier the other day. After I printed my PDFs, I removed the flash drive without hitting the “reject” button, and the copier gave me a warning message. I know there used to be some issue about losing information if you didn’t go through the process of choosing eject – Is this still true? What bad thing could happen?

Signed, Just Curious

Dear Curious:

When you go through the steps to properly eject a flash drive, the operating system of the machine you’re using gets the signal that the flash drive is about to be disconnected. The operating system completes any read or write operations on the drive and unmounts it from the computer.

When you unplug your USB hard drive without ejecting officially, your data may be compromised because it could still be in the process of writing it into the drive. Your file may not be saved to the drive or could be corrupted. Some processes go on in the background that can be corrupted if not finished properly.

Your flash drive is likely corrupted if you experience one or more of the following:

Your flash drive shows up on your desktop as an unknown device; your flash drive won’t open; the files on your flash drive won’t open in the right formats; Files not opening in their native formats.

When finished using a USB flash drive connected to your computer, just to be safe, eject it using the official process provided by whatever device you are using.

I hope this helps!
Until next time,
Happy computing!
PC Doctor

Editor's Note: Questions should be directed to PC Doctor, care of the Athol Public Library, info@athollibrary.org or Athol Public Library, 568 Main St., Athol, Mass. 01331, or dropped off at the library