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How to Make Your USB Devices Power Down on Safe Removal in Windows

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Have you ever safely removed your USB device only to see that the LED activity light on your device remains on? This is caused by a change to Windows that has affected every version since Windows Vista. Here’s how to fix it.

Note that we’re not necessarily recommending you apply this change unless you need it.

Thanks to reader André Torga for this solution.

Why is This Happening?

Back in the days of Windows XP, when you safely removed a USB device the device was marked as removed and the USB hub port to which the device was connected was marked as disabled, which means that the device could no longer receive USB power and therefore the LED status light would turn off. However, since Windows Vista this is no longer the case, while the USB device is marked as removed the USB hub to which it is connected remains enabled.

How Can You Fix This ?

There is a setting in the registry that allows you to revert to the behavior of the Safely Remove dialog to that of Windows XP. To edit it, press the Windows + R keyboard combination type regedit and hit enter.

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When the Registry Editor opens, navigate to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\usbhub

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Then click on the edit menu and create a new key, called HubG.

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Then inside the new HubG key, create a new DWORD (32-bit) value and call it DisableOnSoftRemove.

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Now right-click on the DisableOnSoftRemove value and choose to Modify it from the context menu.

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Then change the Value data field to 1 and click OK.

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You will still need to Safely Remove your device in order for this to work.

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The Easy Way

If you prefer, you can download a zip file which contains registry keys to both enable and disable the feature. All you need to do is unzip the file and run either the enable or disable registry key.

Taylor Gibb is a Microsoft MVP and all round geek, he loves everything from Windows 8 to Windows Server 2012 and even C# and PowerShell. You can also follow him on Google+

  • Published 08/6/12

Comments (19)

  1. SatoMew

    Thanks for publishing my suggestion. :)

    Note that you can also apply this per device instead of applying it globally across the Windows installation. The respective Microsoft Support article explains how to do that as well: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2401954

  2. baklogic

    Just the tool to help stop damaging usb sticks – the download keys will prove really useful to many, I am sure

  3. bedlamb

    Thanks HTG. Something new to play with.

    Query:
    As long as data transfer has stopped, is it actually necessary to stop power?
    Also, if I use this, and the port powers off, what happens when I stick another stick in the port? Does it power back up? Seems unlikely, as it would need power to see the presence. So, would I need to reboot the machine to use another stick?
    This sounds good, but I would appreciate some clarification. Thanks all.

  4. Kau2Geek

    OK, I downloaded ,Unzipped ..ran ..It said registry has been added successful ..

    But IT does not work ….? Am i smissing something …?

    Please help .

    Thanks .

  5. Jimbo

    As an unrelated aside, today marks the 67th anniversary of this country’s use of the world’s first atomic weapon against humanity. I’m sure that today’s untimely cartoon was an unfortunate coincidence for which you should probably issue an “oops, we goofed.”

  6. Beverly Kurtin

    Oh dear God! You folks have just screwed up royally with this complex way of doing something that can be done WAY easier.

    First, has it ever occured to you that all you have to do is press the Windows (start) key or click on the start icon and then simply type in whatever it is that you want. It is one of the most useful things in Windows EVER.

    Second, to make certain that a device can be removed with or without going to sleep, hibernate or off, just press Win+e, find your device, right click on it and EJECT IT. Instantly, you can remove it without fear of losing anything.

    Every morning…yes, EVERY MORNING, I tap the Windows key and type in the word disk. It brings up disk cleanup and returns my system to the way it was the first day I owned it. Sure, it takes a a minute or two to do that, but the rest of the day you’re not tied up in knots because your system is sluggish.

    Ciao

  7. Zakariah

    Why does everyone use Run on Win8, Win7 and Windows Vista. Just press Start and type regedit. Your at the registry. Waste of electricity, mind you!

  8. SatoMew

    @bedlamb, check the Microsoft Support article where I found this. It’s linked to in the first comment.

    @Kau2Geek, try restarting Windows.

    @Beverly Kurtin, wow, you completely missed the point of this Registry edit. This is to power off the USB ports to which USB devices are connected to when they are safely ejected in Windows, like it happens in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. The fact that they USB port stays powered on is an intentional change that Microsoft did in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, which also applies to Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 (and apparently remains in the new Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 as well). This Registry edit reverts this behavior back to what it was in Windows XP/Server 2003.

  9. Qrazydutch

    To Jimbo….thank you president Truman…and the cartoon was funny and the discussion was about USB…not rewriting history!!! So pls keep your personal agenda personal… thanks for the USB article

  10. MxK

    Please could you clarify: “All you need to do is unzip the file and run either the enable or disable registry key.” Does “disable” revert to XP behaviour and “enable” leave USB powered on – or have I lost the plot? Thanks

  11. SatoMew

    @MxK: the Enable .reg reverts to XP/Server 2003 behavior, the Disable .reg restores the default Vista/Server 2008/7/Server 2008 R2/8/Server 2012 behavior.

  12. TheProudNoob

    For a second I thought it was asking if HtG readers ever had the LED activity light still on after unplugging the device…

  13. edd080

    Works like a charm.. Thanks..!

  14. Knightspawn5

    I tried this, it didnt come up in the vista the way it came up for you.

  15. Kau2Geek

    WOW …It works .

    How come It doesn’t say “your device can safely remove now” ..any more …?

  16. SatoMew

    @Knightspawn5, could you please elaborate on the issue?

    @Kau2Geek, which version of Windows is your PC running? I’m on Windows 7 and, other than changing the discussed behavior, everything remains the same (as it should).

  17. Kau2Geek

    I’m rurring Wds 7 Home Pre.x64 bit .

    Actually it disapeared before I applied this .

    It did turn off the flash drive though .

    Thanks .

  18. SatoMew

    @Kau2Geek, you’re welcome. And that’s weird. Well, I’m glad that it’s not due to this.

  19. Paul P

    Before changing this, I’m curious if there was an actual reason why this was changed by Microsoft? I tend to think that there must be some benefit in order for Microsoft to have changed this intentionally. Anyone have any idea what it is? Perhaps it is to enable charging of devices through usb ports? or something else?

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