Forum Thread

Can't eject new WD 2TB Passport Portable Hard Drive without unplugging usb cable

mikenmike0001 2,817 276 April 7, 2013 at 10:54 PM
Hi,

I'm having a frustrating time working with this newly purchased Western Digital 2TB PASSPORT Portable Hard Drive. I just got it on Friday and unraveled it today.

Initially I plugged it into my Windows 7 64 Bit laptop and it auto detected and installed the driver. Then I installed the WD App that came with Utilites and Smartware.

I tried to play around with the new features and did a sample backup to see if the drive worked. It upgraded the Smartware to a newer version. Then I went to Utilites and tested the hard drive tests like the SMART Scan and stuff. The upgrade eventually required that I restart the computer, which I did.

Then after a while, I decided I didn't want to use the hard drive anymore, so I went to my icon bar at the lower right hand of the screen near the clock, closed all applications out, stopped the backup , and then clicked on the green arrows and tried to eject it.

It kept giving me errors trying to eject it.

Then, I decided to restart the computer and while it was booting into windows, I unplugged the USB while the light on the portable hard drive was still on and waited until I logged into windows again. I logged in and didn't start anything. Then I plugged in the hard drive and then tried to eject it again and the same error happened.

So then I thought it was due to the software installed from WD since I read people online complaining about Smartware causing issues, so I uninstalled all WD software and then tried to eject again...didn't work.

So then the next thing I did was go into MY COMPUTER and right click on the hard drive and clicked Quick Format. I formatted it and then tried to eject it again. Didn't work.

Then I went around online and heard that the antivirus could be an issue. I have Norton Security Suite, so what I did was temporarily disconnected the WIFI and temporarily suspended the auto protect and disabled the firewall, for 15 minutes, and while that was turned off, I tried to eject the hard drive the right way without unplugging, but I still got an error, the same error since the beginning.

So now, the only thing left I read in the WD community forum is that someone said it could be that Windows is trying to index that hard drive letter, so I clicked the windows icon, typed in "index" and got the window about indexing, I checked and the portable hard drive letter was not included in the index. However, I don't know how to turn off indexing in general and if that's a good idea to turn it off. I don't know what the advantages were that I had it on.

So now I'm stuck. I don't know if this brand new unit is defective or something, but something as simple as trying to eject the drive letter to have the portable hard drive power off and then unplug should be a no brainer, and yet, I can't figure out why this is happened. It has never happened with any other external hard drive that I've plugged into this laptop that I am using before, but this PASSPORT is causing me issues.

I have taken a snapshot of the picture of the error below that's available to view on SKYDRIVE.


http://sdrv.ms/11I31pT


Here's a snapshot of my Task Manager

http://sdrv.ms/ZtRoF2

Hope that some people can help me trouble shoot this.


I tried to download unlocker and use this, but unlocker didn't detect any locked handles when I selected the hard drive letter. This was a solution from Microsoft about general issues with ejecting from the usb drive.

This is that only device that I've had that's USB and has this problem. I've ejected other devices from my laptop without any problems. Very strange.


~ Mike

15 Comments

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#2
I'll mention the few things that I know.
The WD software is a total clusterphook and even though you believe you removed it, it may still be running and trying to do something with the external HD, despite you having formatted it.
You have only shown us a partial view of all the processes running in the task manager, and we need to see it all, so please take more screenshots of the entire list.
I notice a process called pmbvolumewatcher and that may be "looking" at your ext. HD, and preventing you from ejecting it.
BTW: The index system wouldn't automatically start indexing an external drive, unless you told it to.
If you do want to stop indexing, you can hit the start menu, type in "ser" and "Services" will appear in the list above. Click on it and find "Windows Search" and disable it.
In the meantime, until we have the full list of running processes, you could try a little trick by going into Disk Management and changing the letter of the external hard drive to anything available.
It is possible that some program is seeking to do this or that to Drive X (for example) and if you change it to "Z", then the program wouldn't be able to find it and that might permit you to properly eject it.
If you try that trick and it works, then it would confirm that there is some program running that is causing the problem.
BTW: You need some tweaking, something fierce. You have WAY too many unnecessary processes running there.

PS: You appear to have one or two (or more) programs that are looking for media on your computer. These programs are probably related to some media players that you have installed, like WinAmp and I see another one called Sansa. Anyhow, if they are automatically scanning your external hard drive for media, that could easily be the cause of not being able to eject it. As that little warning box said "a program may still be using it", meaning that as long as some program is doing something to that drive, it is considered to be busy, thus it cannot be safely ejected.
It's early in the morning and I hope I've explained all this well enough (I need more coffee), but if not, don't be shy to ask for clarification.
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Last edited by RockySosua April 8, 2013 at 02:35 AM
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#3
I know that having write caching turned on can cause the same issue

http://www.sevenforums.com/tutori...sable.html

Software like Rocky mentioned is probably the issue but check the write caching too

try safe mode and see if you can eject it
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#4
Had a similar issue and finally found the program that had a service running that caused it. Like above mentioned, just have to figure out which one.
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#5
Quote from RockySosua View Post :
I'll mention the few things that I know.
The WD software is a total clusterphook and even though you believe you removed it, it may still be running and trying to do something with the external HD, despite you having formatted it.
You have only shown us a partial view of all the processes running in the task manager, and we need to see it all, so please take more screenshots of the entire list.
I notice a process called pmbvolumewatcher and that may be "looking" at your ext. HD, and preventing you from ejecting it.
BTW: The index system wouldn't automatically start indexing an external drive, unless you told it to.
If you do want to stop indexing, you can hit the start menu, type in "ser" and "Services" will appear in the list above. Click on it and find "Windows Search" and disable it.
In the meantime, until we have the full list of running processes, you could try a little trick by going into Disk Management and changing the letter of the external hard drive to anything available.
It is possible that some program is seeking to do this or that to Drive X (for example) and if you change it to "Z", then the program wouldn't be able to find it and that might permit you to properly eject it.
If you try that trick and it works, then it would confirm that there is some program running that is causing the problem.
BTW: You need some tweaking, something fierce. You have WAY too many unnecessary processes running there.

PS: You appear to have one or two (or more) programs that are looking for media on your computer. These programs are probably related to some media players that you have installed, like WinAmp and I see another one called Sansa. Anyhow, if they are automatically scanning your external hard drive for media, that could easily be the cause of not being able to eject it. As that little warning box said "a program may still be using it", meaning that as long as some program is doing something to that drive, it is considered to be busy, thus it cannot be safely ejected.
It's early in the morning and I hope I've explained all this well enough (I need more coffee), but if not, don't be shy to ask for clarification.
Hi Rocky,

Thanks for replying, as well as the others in this thread.

I went through the Task Manager, and retook the snapshots so that you can see.

I had sorted it by "Description" so that it's easier to view alphabetically.

Here are the snap shots from top to bottom:

http://sdrv.ms/YGAbWo

and

http://sdrv.ms/10HEE95

I wish I knew about the WD Software. I didn't see people complain about it when I saw these sales posted in Hot Deals and Deals Discussion on SD.

Now, I know now to do this on other computers I have, but what's done is done, so now, it's just a matter of trying to fix the issue.

I will try the Disk Management trick in a bit to see if I can do it and then, I will get back to you on that. Question: If I change the drive letter like that, will it stay that same drive letter whenever I replug the PASSPORT back into my laptop?

In regards to Sansa and Winamp, I could try to uninstall those, but I've had them for years and this includes the time when I had other external hard drives installed and was able to eject them without any problems.

That's why a lot of what you may be in the Task Manager, may be clutter because I have installed a lot, but up until yesterday, they were not causing problems ejecting my mp3 player, other external hard drives, and flash drives. It's just the time that I installed the WD Software and Smartware, and plugged in this brand new WD PASSPORT that this stated to happen.

and I just double checked to see if this problem is happening with other usb drives by plugging into a flash drive that used the same drive letter F that the PASSPORT used, and I was able to eject it without any problems.
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#6
Quote from komondor View Post :
I know that having write caching turned on can cause the same issue

http://www.sevenforums.com/tutori...sable.html

Software like Rocky mentioned is probably the issue but check the write caching too

try safe mode and see if you can eject it
Hi Komondor,

I just tried to boot into Safe Mode, and I plugged in the PASSPORT, which it detected, went into the drive, then closed it, and then went to the lower right hand corner of the screen to eject it, and IT WORKED!

So then I rebooted, and the next thing I tried was logging into a different User Profile other than the one that I installed the WD Software with. I waited for it to load and then I repeated the same thing I did in Safe Mode: I plugged in the PASSPORT, waited for it to pop up the window to get into the drive, then I closed that, and tried to eject, and THAT TOO WORKED.

So now I know that it just has to do with something related to my main profile that I shared with you in the Task Manager screen shots where the WD software was originally installed and what I thought was fully uninstalled. That seemed to isolate the problem a bit.

I was planning on seeing if doing a system restore would help. I've never done that before. Any ideas?
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#7
you could try installing something like this:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-u...96653.aspx

and putting the drive letter ("f:" for example) in the 'find' menu option. It might give you a hint
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#8
System restore will not help it is one of your applications that are running just kill the process in task manager and see if you can eject just keep on killing the non MS processes until it ejects and you know the culprit
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#9
Quote from vivahate View Post :
you could try installing something like this:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-u...96653.aspx

and putting the drive letter ("f:" for example) in the 'find' menu option. It might give you a hint
Hi Vivahate,

I tried using that software yesterday when I was searching on Google for a solution and found that same Microsoft post. It was able to find like 5 handles in the F drive that was causing a problem. I wasn't able to translate what it meant though, a lot of these metadata "$" things. But I was unable to close the handle through that software. It doesn't appear to be an easy software to learn how to use since I followed the instructions, same as your link, and it didn't work in closing the handles.


Well, the good news is that I may have tentatively fixed my own problem. I tried a few things this morning, and I was about to do system restore, when I gave the CCleaner a shot, and cleared the cache, then auto fixed all registry issues that it detected, then I closed that program and plugged in the PASSPORT and accessed it, then closed it, and I was ABLE TO EJECT THE PASSPORT without any problems this time around. I will have to try it a few more times just to be safe, but it looks like CCleaner may have saved me from more headaches and time troubleshooting.

Quote from komondor View Post :
System restore will not help it is one of your applications that are running just kill the process in task manager and see if you can eject just keep on killing the non MS processes until it ejects and you know the culprit
Just keep killing random non MS process one by one? What if I kill the wrong one and my system because unstable or crashes?

Also, if I kill a process and it finally ejects, then won't the process reappear every time I restart the laptop and go into my user profile?
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Last edited by mikenmike0001 April 8, 2013 at 10:38 AM
#10
I can only speak to the issue I had but I could not find the culprit until I went into Services and found that a media manager I had installed was causing the problem and I had to manually stop the service. It did not show up in processes.
Rocky mentioned to post the list for services.
If it was me I would compare the services difference between the other users and the problem one and see if there is a difference. Especially look for something WD related.

Edit: Since you mentioned metadata issues...this sounds like the issue. It would make sense, since it will constantly be looking to update the external drive if that's where your media is located. It can't eject the drive because it sees it as still in use.
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Last edited by repitall April 8, 2013 at 10:48 AM
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#11
if you kill a process that is non MS it will not effect your system and the critical processes will not let you kill them if you kill the winamp process and it ejects then you will know winamp is the issue and you need to adjust the settings of winamp to not scan that drive it is not really that hard difficult or unusual.

It could also be am service like Rocky said too this stuff is all about detective work.

I do IT for a living and am good at it because, I can usually find the problem and a solution pretty quickly.
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#12
Next time, try checking the option at the bottom of your task manager, that says "show processes from all user" as you have 120 processes running and only 79 total in the two screenshots.
That being said, here are 5 processes to try killing, one by one, testing the WD ejection after killing each one.
Once you have established which of the 5 that it is (assuming it's not one of the 41 missing in the list) then you can post it and we can run over the details of how to stop it, in a permanent way.
unsecapp
winampa
sansadispatch
wfpuiactions
pmbvolumewatcher

As for killing a process that is integral to the good functioning of your computer most of the time, Windows simply won't let you do it, but the worst scenario is that it would cause the computer to shut down, no harm done.

BTW: If cleaning up with CCleaner has stopped the problem then there is no need to do any of the above.
I can't say for sure what in the cleaner could have fixed it, as I don't use it, as I don't like the fact that it incorporates a registry cleaner, which might cause more harm than good, but the point is, generalized cleaners such as CC, will clean a lot of temp stuff and it's highly unlikely that a process could run from a temp file, except an actual virus or malware and it's fairly clear that is not the case here as your problem is related to that dag blasted WD software.
Anyhow.... as the saying goes... If it ain't broke... don't fix it.
Once you are sure that this particular issue is over and done with, it may be a good idea to talk about tweaking that computer up and getting some better performance from it.
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Last edited by RockySosua April 8, 2013 at 12:33 PM
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#13
Thanks a lot everyone for the feedback. If it happens again, I'll let you all know.
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#14
Hi,

So since I found out how bad the WD PASSPORT software is in causing issues, what do you people suggest to use that's a free or low cost software to backup large (300-400gb) hard drive files to a portable hard drive? One that won't cause issues of always scanning or reading the drive to where it causes ejection issues.

And also, one that will back up once , and then back up again only modified files rather than backing up the whole thing again after each occurrance?
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#15
Quote from mikenmike0001 View Post :
Hi,

So since I found out how bad the WD PASSPORT software is in causing issues, what do you people suggest to use that's a free or low cost software to backup large (300-400gb) hard drive files to a portable hard drive? One that won't cause issues of always scanning or reading the drive to where it causes ejection issues.

And also, one that will back up once , and then back up again only modified files rather than backing up the whole thing again after each occurrance?
I use Acronis - for the second part, make sure you do the "incremental backup"
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