Windows can’t stop your ‘Generic Volume” device..

So annoying, yes?

Got this question the other day:

“Hey…you ever figure out what was hanging up that Western Digital Passport (external drive) that your client wanted to disconnect?  My 500GB can’t be “safely removed” without me turning off my system. Whats up with that?”

It’s ok to get that error. The default removal policy for external hard drives is Quick Removal which disables write caching on the device and in Windows. So you don’t need to use the “safely remove” and yes, you’ll still get the message. Lame, huh?

See for yourself by double checking the device properties:

First, Open Computer:

Right Click on C: drive, Go to Properties. Next Click on Hardware tab and select your disk drive. Click on Properties box.

Click on Policies tab. There it is. Should be defaulted on external drives to Quick Removal.


If you don’t have a Policies tab, you should have a Change settings button (see it at the bottom left hand side of the device properties box), yes?

no Policy Tab

Click on it! And now the Policies tab appears:

Policy Tab appears after clicking on Change Settings

26 Responses to “Windows can’t stop your ‘Generic Volume” device..”

  1. Linda Says:

    OMG! Thank you! My external HD was plugged into my computer for a few days and tried several technique b4 trying this.
    Step 2 worked. I had to restart computer before trying to eject and it worked!

  2. Barbora Says:

    Hi, my printer will not print and it randomly shows this message Windows cant stop your generic volume device because program is using it. Any ideas how to fix it. i am using windows 7.

  3. K Jamison Says:

    I had this trouble and then I reformatted the drives to FAT32. Problem solved. Okay, I cannot copy files over 4GB but that’s not a big issue when it comes to passport drives. It seems, for me at least, that NTFS was the problem.

  4. Whydah Says:

    I realize this thread is somewhat old and I am somewhat off topic. But I have been searching the whole afternoon for a solution to put back external hard drive’s ((WD My Passport) Recycle Bin that I accidentally deleted. I mean the one with the wastebasket icon; not its $RECYCLE.BIN folder that is still there.
    Since the removal of this Recycle Bin, I have been having the “Generic Volume busy” off and on when I try to unplug the device; whereas before, I used to have this issue crop up only very rarely.
    I also have another issue since the removal that may be causing the issue under discussion here:
    Before I deleted the Passport’s Recycle Bin:
    I could delete files in the Passport device and they would go to my Desktop Recycle Bin and will remain there even after the device was unplugged. This behavior allowed me to delete the files permanently at my leisure.

    But now:
    When I delete files from the Passport, they move to the Recycle Bin on my Desktop; but if I don’t delete them permanently before unplugging the Passport, the device “takes them back”; that is, they do not stay in the Desktop Recycle Bin; even when I unplug the device by “safely removing the device” or by turning off the computer. Then when I reconnect the device, the “to be deleted” files show up again on the Desktop Recycle Bin. (So to permanently delete the files from the Passport, I have to delete them off of the Desktop Recycle Bin while the device is plugged in.)
    I think this may be causing the “Generic Volume” problem in my case.
    If any can tell me how to correct this behavior, I would appreciate the help greatly.


    • ab Says:

      First thing that came to mind was to format the drive. WD has a format utility that might help:

      Hope that helps.

    • Rob Ridley Says:

      sounds like a very astute observation that may cause these types of issues. Other than the explorer task I think some other tasks (other programs data mining tasks which could be regular programs or malwire/spyware/adware) could also cause this problem by constantly sending and receiving data from the drive. It could also be that windows is mining your data and that this issue is caused by latent windows processes that work on your data constantly…..

  5. alex Says:

    and then what, simply manually take out the USB?

  6. nb Says:

    for those who say they don’t have a policies tab or don’t see the “change settings”, right click on your device icon after opening “devices and printers”, click on the “hardware” tab, select your usb device under “device functions” (in my case it’s WD Book), click “properties”, then you’ll see the “change settings” button on the bottom left, then click on the “Policies” tab.

  7. SAM Says:

    What happens if “Better Performance” is highlighted?? How can you change it? It won’t let me change the setting.

  8. moltresrider Says:

    I don’t have a policies tab like many other people say they don’t either!!!!!!

  9. moltresrider Says:


  10. Barto Says:

    I don’t have a policies tab

    • TechKnow12 Says:

      When you’re on the General tab you need to click on the “Change Settings” button in order for the Policies Tab to appear. This will relaunch the Device Properties window and it will now include the Policies tab. However, this really only informs you that “Quick removal” is already set to default therefore you can simply just unplug your drive without using the Safely Remove Hardware option on your task bar. In other words you don’t have to change any settings.🙂

  11. 7 Says:

    Just click on “Change settings” button if you don’t see a policies tab.

  12. Mickie Says:

    I don’t have a policies tab:/

  13. Batman Says:


    You can also use Process Explorer, click Find, Find Handle, Put in the drive letter with the “:” and click search to try to locate what is being held open.

    Also sometimes just a log off and back on instead of a shut down will let you eject it.


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