Sometimes the program that was accessing the USB device needs to be closed. This can be done by right clicking the Taskbar and selecting the Task Manager and exiting the program via the Processes tab.

"I have a couple of MicroSD adapters and one 16GB flash drive that had to be thrown away because of this..."

You may at anytime remove a USB powered deviced without using the "Safely Remove Hardware" menu. However, to resume using it again on the same computer, you should first power down your computer and then unplug it for about 1 minute. This resets the capacitors on the motherboard.