Safely unplug

How to change disconnect settings for storage devices on Windows 10

Windows 10 uses a new default policy to disconnect external drives, which can impact performance. If you want the old settings back, here's how to do it.

Disk Management settings on Windows 10

Windows 10 handles the disconnect process of external storage devices (such as USB flash drives) using two policies, including “Quick removal” and “Better performance.”

Originally, the default option was Better performance, which offered faster speeds, but to remove the device safely, you needed to use the safely remove hardware process to prevent data loss. Starting with version 1809 (source Microsoft via ZDNet), Windows 10 is making the Quick removal the default option that prevents data loss as you disconnect the drive, but it reduces performance.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to change the setting when disconnecting with an external storage on Windows 10.

How to set removal policy for storage on Windows 10

To specify the policy to remove an external storage from Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Disk Management and click the top result to open the experience.

  3. Select the storage from the left side.

  4. Right-click the storage and select the Properties option.

    USB drive settings on Disk Management
    USB drive settings on Disk Management
  5. Click on the Policies tab.

  6. Under the “Removal policy” section, select the option that you want to use when removing an external storage (for example, USB flash drive):

    • Quick removal (default): The device is always ready to removal, meaning that you can unplug an external storage without the need to use the option to safely remove the hardware from the taskbar. The caveat using this option is that Windows 10 disables the cache disk writing feature, which can impact performance of the drive.

    • Better performance: When selected, the performance of the drive will improve as Windows 10 uses its cache disk writing feature to transfer data to the drive. The only downside is that you’ll have to use the safely remove hardware process to properly disconnect the drive.

  7. Under the “Write-caching policy” section, check the Enable write caching on the device option.

    Remove drive policy on Windows 10
    Remove drive policy on Windows 10
  8. Click the OK button.

Although “Quick Removal” is the new default option, Microsoft still recommends to use the “Better performance” option to improve speeds and prevent data loss.