Restart not Recommended as the Best Option
by High Desert Charlie - 9/16/11 8:46 PM
You shouldn't be having this problem with your USB devices.
Most flash drives are automatically set to run without a read/write cache for "Quick Removal". At least according to Windows, you're supposed to be able to remove your USB device without using the "Safely Remove Hardware" feature unless you have changed the properties for your USB drive to turn on Read/Write caching for better performance. If you have, then you need to use the Safely Remove Hardware feature.
You can quickly view the properties of your devices in a number of ways depending on what OS you're using. This command can be created on your desktop to quickly assess the properties of your devices, and safely remove them if you desire:
Right-click the desktop and choose New > Shortcut. Use this for a target:
%windir%\System32\rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL hotplug.dll
where %windir% is the drive where your system is located (Usually C:\windows) so the command would look like this on most systems:
C:\windows\System32\rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL hotplug.dll
In Windows 7, clicking on Start _>Devices and Printers will usually bring up any USB devices in use and allow you to eject them.
I think the obvious is obvious here. If you have any open documents that originated from your USB drive you need to save them. If you ran any commands from your USB drive that are still running, you should shut them down. You can use the EJECT command from the shortcut I provided above. If all of that still doesn't work and you want to be absolutely certain that you don't corrupt the FAT on your USB, you should do a SHUT DOWN. Then remove the device before restarting. Doing a Restart could still damage your USB in rare circumstances. (Don't flood me with answers about how it works for you, I said RARE CIRCUMSTANCES).
I hope this helps.