How do I stop windows from taking over my portable hard drive
February 17, 2009 5:40 AM   Subscribe

I have a portable usb hard drive that I use for keeping all my documents / backups on. Windows seems to love using this drive for everything, for example I am installing IE7 from windows update, and it is using the drive to hold all the temporary files during the install. Because of this the drive is always in use and I can never eject it.

Using unlocker I can see that no less than three services are holding files open on this drive, and system restore is also using it (even though I disabled it for the external drive)

How can I get windows to treat this external the same way it treats a USB stick, instead of it treating it like an actual hard drive?
posted by Syntoad to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Actually system restore decided to turn itself back on for the drive (it might do this every time I plug it in,) and I just turned it off. The three svchost.exe processes still have a hold on files though.
posted by Syntoad at 5:42 AM on February 17, 2009

It sounds a lot like Windows is using the disk as virtual memory. On XP you can check this by doing My Computer (right-click) -> Properties -> Advanced Tab -> Settings (Performance box) -> Advanced Tab -> Change (Virtual memory box). Select the drive letter and check whether it has a paging file associated with it. It shouldn't.

This may not be the answer though - I can't think how you would have ended up with a paging file on the external disk in the first place...
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 5:59 AM on February 17, 2009

Take a look at the graphic on this page under Enable advanced write caching. Your USB drive should be set to the first option on that page, Optimize for Quick Removal.
posted by odinsdream at 6:42 AM on February 17, 2009

It is both set to optimize for quick removal, and is not set up for paging.
posted by Syntoad at 7:21 AM on February 17, 2009

What are the files that Unlocker shows as being open?
posted by odinsdream at 7:26 AM on February 17, 2009

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