Windows 11 Task Manager is preventing the Safely Remove Hardware feature
The latest version of Windows 11 has a bug that may prevent the safe removal of hardware from the device. Discovered by our colleagues over at Deskmodder, it appears that Windows 11's own Task Manager application is preventing devices from being ejected safely from the operating system.
Users of Windows 11 who activate the operating system's Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media feature from the system tray, to remove USB devices and other devices connected to the system safely, may notice that this is no longer possible if the Task Manager application is open.
Windows 11 displays the message "Problem Ejecting USB Mass Storage Device", stating that the device can't be stopped by the operating system because of another program that is still using it. That program, at least in this case, is the operating system's Task Manager.
The issue is resolved easily. All it takes is to close the Task Manager application before activating the safely remove hardware option of the operating system. Other workarounds mentioned in Deskmodder's article did not work on our test system. Neither minimizing nor switching to another tab that does not list the system's processes worked on the device to avoid the "in use" notification.
The Windows Task Manager should not prevent programs from closing or devices from being ejected safely from the system. It is clearly a bug, but it is unclear how widespread the issue actually is. Microsoft has not confirmed the issue yet, it is not listed as one of Windows 11 2022 Update's known issues on the official support page on the Microsoft website.
Safely Remove Hardware's main purpose is to avoid data loss when removing external storage devices, such as USB drives, from Windows machines. While Windows is not preventing the removal of external devices without using the feature, not using the safety feature may result in data loss on the device.
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