It's common practice to hit "Safely Remove USB" before pulling out a flash drive from Windows devices, but Microsoft has officially called it quits on that requirements.
As part of a new update, the Redmond company has modified the way Windows 10 handles disconnecting USBs or Thunderbolt storage devices. The change applies to USB thumb drives, external hard drives, flash drives, and even data transfer connections between PCs and smartphones.
It took effect with the wide deployment of Windows 10 version 1809, which is the October 2018 update.
Microsoft Ends Safely Remove USB
Until now, the default policy in Windows 10 and all previous versions of the operating system when inserting a USB device was "Better Performance." With Windows 10 v1809, however, Microsoft decided to make "Quick Removal" the default instead.
What's the difference between the two?
Well, Better Performance facilitates fast data transfers and storage operations. This includes caching data while it's being transferred opened, or in preparation for other commands. However, this requires the user to hit "Safely Remove Hardware" before pulling their storage device out to avoid risks of data loss or hardware damage. All users on Windows probably know this.
With Quick Removal, meanwhile, Windows 10 puts storage devices in a state where they can be disconnected without following the Safely Remove Hardware protocol. There are downsides to this, of course, chief of which is speed. Since in this setting Windows won't cache disk writes, the data move to an external device might take longer to transfer.
How To Switch To Better Performance
Luckily, Microsoft will allow users to switch to their preferred setting on a per-device basis. Simply connect the external device to the computer, right-click Start, then hit File Explorer. Find the letter or label associated with the device. Then right-click start again, and select Disk Management. There, find the label of the device, right-click, and hit "Properties." Go to the "Policies" and select either Better Performance or Quick Removal.
Again, starting with Windows 10 version 1809, all external devices will default to Quick Removal, so users will have to change the setting for every device they insert.