Help me get my drive unplugged!
February 5, 2007 12:35 AM   Subscribe

How can I find out what application is locking my external USB drive in Windows XP?

Ok, here's the long and the short of it: I've got an external hard drive (a normal 3.5" drive in a Vantec Nexstar 3 enclosure). I've closed all the apps that have files open on said drive. When I try to "eject" it in XP (make it safe for unplugging) it says that an application is still using a file on the drive. How can I find out what application is holding that file open? I know, I can just shut down the PC, but I'd like to be able to disconnect the thing without having to shutdown every time! Are there any apps that tell you what file handles are open for each running process? I tried FileMon from SysInternals, but that tells you more as things are being opened, not after the fact what is being *held* open.
posted by antifuse to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
WhoLockMe is a nice small program that will tell you what process is currently locking a file.
posted by mattdini at 12:49 AM on February 5, 2007

Response by poster: I have WhoLockMe, and I quite enjoy it... the problem is, I don't know *what* file is locked. Windows just tells me "The drive cannot be unplugged because a file is in use" or some such thing.
posted by antifuse at 1:08 AM on February 5, 2007

Best answer: You want to use Unlocker.
posted by melorama at 2:01 AM on February 5, 2007

Also, WhoLockMe *does* tell you what file is locked.
posted by melorama at 2:03 AM on February 5, 2007

Best answer: WhoLockMe doesn't seem to do the recursive queries on drives the way it does on directories.

A heavier weight but effective solution is getting ProcessExplorer, do Find -> File Handle or DLL... -> and search for E:\ or whatever the letter is.
posted by aubilenon at 2:48 AM on February 5, 2007

Response by poster: As aubilenon said, you can't do wholockme on a whole drive, unfortunately. At least, it doesn't seem to do anything. Unlocker, on the other hand, is hella sweet. And it seems to do the same thing that ProcExp does as well. Cheers, fellas.
posted by antifuse at 3:40 AM on February 5, 2007

Response by poster: Also, I'm using "fellas" in a generic, non-gender-specific way as I haven't bothered to look up your profiles :)
posted by antifuse at 3:49 AM on February 5, 2007

Now I want to use Unlocker too.

Okay, someone, lock one of my files without telling me!
posted by aubilenon at 4:27 AM on February 5, 2007

Off to download Unlocker and replace WhoLockMe on my USB stick.. thanks!
posted by mattdini at 10:42 AM on February 5, 2007

My greatest culprit for this is Explorer. If I am in the folder (obvious), or if I have the folder selected in the left hand folder view (less obvious).
posted by blue_wardrobe at 12:34 PM on February 5, 2007

Response by poster: Yeah, I'll usually kill explorer (all instances, which also requires restarting explorer from task manager in order to be able to disconnect the drive) and often even THAT doesn't work! Very frustrating. But unlocker looks like a little gem of a product!
posted by antifuse at 1:14 AM on February 6, 2007

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