Why should I eject my flash USB memory stick…

Don’t we all simply disconnect our USB flash drives without ejecting them first? That extra two seconds could be better spent doing something else right? Wrong! Unplugging without warning can cause data corruption. Mac and Linux users be especially aware!

The reason this is a bad idea is all down to ‘write caching’. Essentially your operating system will cache all the files to be written and perform the function in one go. The functionality is designed to improve performance. When a user disconnects a USB flash drive without warning, the cache is cleared out. If a write process is in operation, this inevitably will result in data corruption.

When you disconnect a flash drive on in Mac or Linux without ejecting, users will receive a warning message. Windows does not and doesn’t even have an obvious eject button. Why is this? Quite simply, Windows disables ‘write caching’ by default and a user must go into the device properties to re-enable it. In this respect Windows is much more intuitive in that it understands users often disconnect without warning. If you are going to disable this default make sure you religiously follow the disconnection procedure.