Previously, the default mode of operation with USB drives was ‘better performance’, but with the October 2018 Update, that has changed to ‘quick removal’.
As the name suggests, ‘quick removal’ allows for the user to unplug the USB device without a second thought, whenever they want. The trade-off, however, is that the operating system loses the ability to cache disk write operations.
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In other words, you may lose something on the performance front, which is exactly why the other option, ‘better performance’, is so named.
As mentioned, this was previously the default setting for Windows and it’s the way of working everyone is used to – you get disk write caching and its speed benefits, but before you unplug the USB connection, you (normally) need to use the option to eject or ‘safely remove hardware’ on the taskbar first, to let the OS know you are about to remove the USB device.
Of course, even in this scenario, you can simply yank out the USB drive whenever, and it might not make any odds. But if disk write caching is operational, there is a chance of data loss when you do this, which could obviously be very bad news.
If you don’t like the new scheme of things, you can always change back to the old way of working. In fact, you can specify ‘quick removal’ or ‘better performance’ on a per-USB-device basis.
All you have to do is right click on the Start button and go to Disk Management, right click on the USB drive, select Properties, Policies, and you will be able to change the removal policy for that specific USB device in this window.
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).