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  1. #1
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    I've observed this problem in Windows XP both Word 2003 and Word 2007. I suspect that it affects all versions of Word, and perhaps all Office applications.

    Attach a removable drive to your computer. Open a document on the drive and work with it; then close it. Try to eject the drive.

    You can't. Windows opens an error box that says, "'Removable disk (E' is currently in use..."

    To let Windows eject the drive, you have to exit Word.

    This happens much of the time, but not always; I haven't identified the precise conditions that trigger it.

    Does anyone know what causes it? Is there a workaround?

  2. #2
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    This seems to be standard behaviour in Word. Try opening and closing a document from another directory, not on the removable drive.

    cheers, Paul

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    You should NEVER use Word with any form of removable media: it is the quick way to lost work. Always work with the local HDD and copy to/from the removable media.

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    >You should NEVER use Word with any form of removable media: it is the quick way to lost work.

    Could you expand on this? I see no reason why using Word on removable media should be more risky than using it on any other media.

    I have been using Word directly on removable media for years, and have never lost work. From my experience I see no disadvantage to the practice, except for the inconvenience that made me start this thread.

    On the other hand, there is a very good security reason for following the practice in certain situations; for example, if you are editing your documents on a computer that is used or controlled by a party whom you do not entirely trust.

    I do not have trouble remembering to eject a removable drive before removing it, but as an experiment, I opened and edited a document, yanked the drive, and then tried to save. Word (2007) simply opened a dialog box telling me that it could not save the document, then opened a "Save As" dialog box. I plugged the drive in (to a different USB port for good measure), closed the Save As box, and saved the file to its original location. It worked fine.

    I recognize that if I did this as a regular practice, with all sorts of equipment, there's an increased risk that sooner or later it would cause data corruption. But removable drives are not nearly as touchy as some people seem to believe, at least when modern hardware and software are used.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsachs177 View Post
    >You should NEVER use Word with any form of removable media: it is the quick way to lost work.

    Could you expand on this?
    One of the primary reasons not to open from and edit on a floppy disk was that Word would fill up the disk with temp files and delete your real file, leaving you without your document. With the advent of multi-gigabyte removable media, this is less of a concern.

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    5 Star Lounger petesmst's Avatar
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    I have had no problems creating, editing and saving Word documents (and indeed all MS Office files, except of course Outlook) to a removable drive with Word 2003, 2007 and 2010. One caveat: Save and close the document and then exit from Word before removing the drive from the USB port. If you do not wish to exit from Word, open some other document from a local hard drive before removing your removable drive (having first saved and closed the Word document(s) it contains.
    (My Setup: Custom built: 4.00GHz Intel Core i7-6700K CPU; MSI Z170A Gaming Carbon Motherboard (Military Class III); Win 10 Pro (64 bit)-(UEFI-booted); 16GB RAM; 512GB SAMSUNG SD850 PRO SSD; 120GB SAMSUNG 840 SSD; Seagate 2TB Barracuda SATA6G HDD; 2 X GeForceGTX 1070 8GB Graphics Card (SLI); Office 2013 Prof (32-bit); MS Project 2013 (32-bit); Acronis TI 2017 Premium, Norton Internet Security, VMWare Workstation12 Pro). WD My Book 3 1TB USB External Backup Drive). Samsung 24" Curved HD Monitor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsachs177 View Post
    >You should NEVER use Word with any form of removable media: it is the quick way to lost work.

    Could you expand on this? I see no reason why using Word on removable media should be more risky than using it on any other media.
    As you work on a document, Word creates many temporary files in the active target folder: when it saves, it reads and writes from these temp files as it creates the final .doc. Windows warns you not to remove the USB drive because some of these temp files were still 'active'. A few of these files are kept active until Word is closed. So you really risk corrupting or totally losing a document by working directly with a removable drive. There are many thousands of users out there who have learnt this the hard way.

    So always work with the local HDD and then copy to/from the removable media.

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    Thanks to the people who pointed out how to make Word "let go" of the drive. I've tried it, and it works.

    Terry, I don't think we're going to resolve the issue you raised, because you're just repeating your original assertions instead of addressing my response. But I'll go over it once more to make it as clear as I can:

    I have been editing documents on flash drives for years, and have never experienced document corruption.

    Windows won't eject the drive while files are open. Once the temporary files are closed -- which was, you'll recall, the subject of this thread -- there is no way removing the drive can cause anything to be lost.

    Once the document file is saved, it is saved. The fact that temporary files remain open can't change that. Removing the drive may upset Word, but it can't damage the document.

    Copying a document to a hard drive can create security risks.

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