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Do You Really Need To Safely Eject A Drive From A USB Port?

Chances are you’ve encountered this dilemma when using a flash drive or external hard drive on your computer- should I eject the drive first, or just pull the cord?

You’ve probably asked a few people that very question and met with conflicting answers, with at least one of them claiming that a failure to eject can result in memory damage to your drive.

So what’s the truth about safely ejecting from a USB port? Let Gizmodo demystify the dilemma and answer the burning question Does Safely Ejecting From A USB Port Actually Do Anything?


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Most USB drives come formatted for Windows. It's understandable that Linux doesn't always have the best support for another OS's proprietary file systems. If you reformat it using a journaling Linux file system (Ext3/Ext4/Reiser/XFS/JFS/BTR/etc.), corruption is a thing of the past, and the system will just rollback the journal automatically every time you attach it. It'll work nicely on Linux, while Windows will completely refuse to read it, never-mind checking and repairing it. Windows is clearly the deficient one.
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Ubuntu 14.something. Quite a few times I've had to hunt down a Windows machine 'cos Linux says it's corrupted. Plug it into Windows, say "Yes, fix it", pull it out and go back to Linux and it works.
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If you were using a remotely modern Linux file system like Ext3 or better on your USB drive, it would automatically work without any fixing necessary.
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This is one of the areas were Windows scores over Linux. If you pull a stick at the wrong time in Windows you'll do the same sort of damage (very rarely hardware, but frequently an upset file system). The difference is that when you plug it back into Windows it offers to fix it - and usually manages without further fuss.
Linux/Android just gets all upset and doesn't offer any solutions. Yes, you can fix it, but no, it ain't user friendly.
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