What is the procedure for disconnecting an external hard drive?

External Hard Drive It is important to follow the appropriate steps when disconnecting the hard drive. If the proper procedure is not followed then data may be lost.

In Windows a small icon appears in the system tray (next to the clock) . this is the dismount icon that allows you to safely disconnect hot pluggable devices.

To dismount the drive before removing it follow these steps:

  1. Right click the icon. This give you the options to safely remove each hot plug device attached to the system.
  2. Choose to remove the external drive. Once you click the choice another window will open allowing you to select which device to remove.
  3. Click the Stop button then you will be prompted for confirmation.
  4. Windows OS displays a message when it is safe to turn off the drive.
  5. Once the drive is turned off, disconnect the interface cable.

If the device is busy then the request to stop the device will be rejected. Be sure to close any applications that are using data from the external drive then attempt to stop the device again. Usually the Windows Explorer will be open and will be the application keeping the drive busy.

In Mac OS the drive appears as an icon on the desktop. Before unplugging the drive the drive needs to be dismounted by dragging the drive to the Trash Can. Wait a few seconds after the drive has gone into the Trash Can, once the activity light has gone out you can safely remove the drive. Once the drive is turned off, disconnect the interface cable.

Note: MacOS users should always dismount the drive before shutting down (or powering off) their computer. If the drive is not properly dismounted there is a chance of data loss.