Change Removal Policy for External Drives in Windows 10

Windows defines two main removal policies for external drives, Quick removal and Better performance. The policies control how the system interacts with external storage devices such as USB drives or Thunderbolt-enabled external drives. Beginning in Windows 10 version 1809, the default policy is Quick removal.

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In earlier versions of Windows the default policy was Better performance.

If you are not familiar with the policies, here is a short description for them:

  • Quick removal. This policy manages storage operations in a manner that keeps the device ready to remove at any time. You can remove the device without using the Safely Remove Hardware process. However, to do this, Windows cannot cache disk write operations. This may degrade system performance.
  • Better performance. This policy manages storage operations in a manner that improves system performance. When this policy is in effect, Windows can cache write operations to the external device. However, you must use the Safely Remove Hardware process to remove the external drive. The Safely Remove Hardware process protects the integrity of data on the device by making sure that all cached operations finish.

So, the disk write caching improves system performance, it can lead to data loss due to power outage or another hardware failure. Some data may be left in the RAM buffer and not get written to the disk.

The removal policy can be individually changed for each external drive connected to your Windows 10 device. Here's how it can be done.

To Change Removal Policy for External Drives in Windows 10,

  1. Connect an external drive you want to change the removal policy for.
  2. Open File Explorer.
  3. Navigate to the This PC folder and note the drive letter assigned to your drive.
  4. Press the Win + X keys together.
  5. In the menu, select Disk Management.Win+X Menu Disk Management Command
  6. In Disk Management, right-click the external drive in the lower section, and then click Properties.Disk Management Drive Properties Windows 10
  7. Go to the Policies tab, and then set the policy you want to use.Windows 10 Drive Removal Policy

You are done.

Tip: If you decide to go with the Better performance policy, it is recommended to enable the Disk Write Caching option. For reference, please see the following post:

Enable or Disable Disk Write Caching in Windows 10

That's it.

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