How to Resolve the Error ‘Windows is unable to stop the device’

Use Safely Remove Hardware to remove USB devices

USB flash storage devices are a convenient means of storing data with quick and easy data transfer capability. Their small size and portability make it all the more usable. Although you don’t need to take additional care of these devices, the only thing you need to do is remove it safely from your computers.

Windows provides a feature called ‘Safely Remove Hardware’ to safely eject the USB device; this is to be used each and every time a USB device is connected to your computer. Failing to do so may make the device unstable and cause the files to get corrupt or unusable. This is because your system may still be in the process of reading/writing files from your USB at the time of removal of the device.

Hence, it is always good practice to eject the device safely using ‘Safely Remove hardware’. However, while ejecting the device, if USB files are open in the background, you may see an error that reads ‘Windows is unable to stop the device’.

This error usually occurs because of two main reasons:

  • Files present on the USB is open in the background
  • Some third-party apps are still using the files on the USB device

Solutions to resolve the error ‘Windows is unable to stop the device’

Solution 1: Try again using Windows built-in tool

If Safely Remove Hardware doesn’t work the first time you click on it, it is probably because some files on the USB is still running in the background. In that case, wait for a while and try again. To do so,

  1. Just click on the Up arrow button in the taskbar and right click on your USB device
  1. Then select ‘Eject <your USB device>’.

Solution 2: Close the applications that are using the USB storage device

One of the main reasons why a system fails to eject the USB device is because the device is in use by another application or program. This can be resolved by closing all the related programs on your system.

Even though you have closed the Word file that was open earlier, it is better you close the Microsoft Word program. It is possible that the Word program still has data open from your USB.

If you can’t identify the programs manually, you can use the Task Manager to your rescue. To open Task Manager and close related programs, follow the steps below.

  • Click Windows + X keys to open the power menu and select Task Manager from the list

  • Go to the Processes tab
  • Check if any file like Word or Excel file related to your USB is running. If so, click on that particular file or program, then click the End Task button to close the program

While you are in Task Manager, you can also restart Explorer.exe as well. There are chances that Explorer may be preventing you from ejecting the USB storage device. In that case, find Explorer and click once on it. Then click Restart to restart the application.

Solution 3: Perform Error Checking on your USB

Usually, if a USB drive has issues, it is detected by the system as soon as you connect it to the system as shown in the image below.

If you get such a message, it is best to take action immediately and repair the errors. However, if you’ve ignored the messages, you can still repair it now.

If the system doesn’t recognize these errors, you can also perform a scan yourself by following the steps.

  • Click Windows + E keys to open File Explorer.
  • Right click on the USB device and select Properties.
  • Choose Tools and under Error Checking section, click on the Check button.

Allow the scanning of your USB to complete. The time it takes depends on the size of the USB drive and the number of repairs involved. These solutions should help you resolve the error ‘Windows is unable to stop the device’.

Data recovery using Remo Recover

Usually, with errors like ‘Windows is unable to stop the device’, you only have issues with ejecting the device. But data on it remains accessible and well. Such errors can easily be resolved using the methods described above in most cases.

On the other hand, if you remove the device abruptly, it may result in data corruption or data loss. Various kinds of error messages may be displayed and the device may become inaccessible or RAW. Such errors are harder to deal with and require you to use data recovery tools like Remo Recover, followed by formatting the drive or even replacing it in worse cases.

Remo Recover is the perfect solution to recover data from corrupt or inaccessible USB’s. It can even be used to retrieve data from USB insert disk error. All types of data like Word files, Excel files, PDF’s, notes, photos, videos etc. can be recovered using this tool. Both Windows and Mac versions of this product are available. Moreover, the tool supports recovery from other USB devices like external hard drives in addition to flash drives. Refer how to recover data from USB 3.0 hard disk for details on the recovery process.

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