Day 15 of the Ghacks Christmas Giveaway. We got 10 more software products for you for which we will hand out licenses. Today's software program is special as it is the first one that can will be handed out to everyone who wants to try it.
USB Safely Remove is a USB device manager that can be run on 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista. USB devices like removable hard drives, memory sticks or even connected digital cameras become increasingly common but Microsoft failed to add the means to manage the devices effectively. The software program works basically with any hot-plug devices like USB, SATA, Firewire or PCMCIA devices.
One of the problems that Windows users might encounter is that most devices that get connected to the computer will use the name USB mass storage device. That makes it difficulty to safely unplug a specific device from the computer system. There is also no option to hide important devices that (never) get disconnected from the system.
USB Safely Remove provides an easier way to manage the devices in Windows. It uses and displays the actual device names & icons and offers ways to rename devices, change device icons and hide devices from the removal menu. A single hotkey can be used to navigate the menu and safely remove or open the device.
This is however just one function of the software. Another annoying Windows feature is that every card reader slot will be assigned to a drive letter which can easily mean that four or even more device letters are taken by card reader slots that are rarely if any in use. USB Safely Remove can be used to hide empty card reader slots automatically. There is also the option to eject cards directly from a card reader. Any process that would lock the card would be displayed so that it could be taken care of.
The reason if a device cannot be stopped on the computer system will be displayed by USB Safely Remove. It will display the running processes that lock the device so that it cannot be stopped or disabled.
It is probably a good time to explain the differences between stopping and disabling a device. Some devices cannot be stopped but only disabled in the hardware manager. USB Safely Remove automatically detects the type of drive and will stop or disable the device without making the user think about the type of device. It can also enable a disabled device at the next start of the computer system.
Programs can be started after a device gets connected to the computer and before a device gets disconnected or stopped again. One possible use for that feature would be to run the encryption software True Crypt to mount and dismount the encrypted container.
A command line version of the software program is provided as well which can be integrated in batch scripts or simply run from the command line.
One of the most interesting features of USB Safely Remove is the ability to start a stopped device. Without the software one would have to unplug the cable of the device and plug it back in so that Windows recognized it again. With USB Safely Remove it is just a matter of selecting the feature in the right-click menu of the application.
The USB software manager comes with several additional features like the ability to mount storage devices as NTFS folders, managing of drive letters or preventing Windows from assigning specific drive letters to devices.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.