Unable to safely remove (unmount) a WD external drive in Windows

For assistance with ejecting a USB device please see Answer ID 15058: How to Safely Remove the USB device from Windows or macOS


Trying to use the Safely Remove Hardware results in a message that the external drive cannot be stopped or unmounted.



  1. An anti-virus or anti-spyware application installed on your PC. You will need to contact your specific anti-virus or anti-spyware's publisher for assistance determining if this is the case.
  2. If the drive contains an NTFS partition indexing may be enabled.
  3. There may be some other third party software that is still accessing the drive. This software most often is security, storage management, or backup utilities.
  4. WD Smartware, WD Backup, WD Drive Utilities or WD Drive Security programs could be running and accessing the device. Close any WD or 3rd party software that is running to ensure it is not using the drive


  1. Configure or disable the function of your anti-virus or anti-spyware so that it is not using your drive. For assistance doing this please contact the publisher of that software.
  2. To check for indexing in Windows, access My Computer (on Windows XP) or Computer (on Windows Vista or 7) and right-click on the drive letter assigned to the drive. Select Properties. You should see the Allow Indexing option under the default tab. If this is checked, uncheck it.
  3. If neither of the above solutions solves the problem, you may have another third-party software that is still accessing the drive. Make sure you close all open documents and programs before you try to stop the drive. Also, try disabling third-party applications that are not part of the operating system in the Windows Task Manager. If all else fails, shutting down the computer first will safely stop the drive. You can then unplug the drive from the computer and/or power.
If none of the above solutions work, you may want to consider upgrading your copy of Windows to the latest Service Pack. You can also go to Microsoft Support for additional help.

In case the answer did not answer your question, you can always visit the WD Community for help from WD users.

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