Things could be easier

Why is it so hard to find the icon to safely remove your USB? How do you stop OneDrive from badgering you when you don’t need it? End these annoyances!

Safety First

A long-time customer emailed me an excellent question.

I know I’m supposed to click on something so I can remove my flash drive safely, but I can’t find the icon. Can you help?


  • Make sure you have a flash drive or external hard drive connected to your computer
  • In the lower right-hand corner of the screen ("by where the clock is..."), click on the upward facing caret to show the hidden icons.
  • Click on the icon that looks like a tiny USB stick
  • This brings up a little box listing any USB devices you have plugged in. Click on the one you want to remove. Wait for the message that it's OK to remove it, and then take out the stick.

If you want that icon to be visible all the time, we can easily do that:

  • Plug in a USB device
  • Right-click on any vacant spot on the taskbar to bring up a dialog box
  • Click on Taskbar settings
  • This will open the windows for Taskbar settings. Scroll down to Notification Area
  • Click on Select which icons appear on the Taskbar
  • In the resulting list, find the one that looks like that little flash drive icon and says Windows Explorer Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media
  • Slide the switch next to it to the ON position

That should do it. Now you can close all those windows, and the little icon should be visible all the time in the area to the left of the clock.

If you want to make things easier still, use the USB Ejector utility I mentioned here. Here’s a direct link.

Silence OneDrive

Another customer emailed me with a question about OneDrive.

I don’t use OneDrive, and don’t need it hanging around nagging me to use it. I’ve tried taking it out of Startup, but somehow it always seems to find a way to run. How can I make it stop?

First of all, if you’re asking yourself, “What the heck is OneDrive?” have a look at this column.

It’s not easy to turn it off. Microsoft really wants us to use it, and they keep finding ways to sneak it back in there. These instructions are good until they temporarily outsmart us again:

  • Right-click on the blue or white cloud icon in the Taskbar
  • Click on Settings
  • Click on the Settings tab
  • Un-check all the boxes in the General section
  • Click on the Auto Save tab
  • Make sure all the Save settings are set to This PC only, and that no boxes are checked
  • Click on the Settings tab
  • Click on Unlink this PC | Unlink this account
  • Click on OK
  • Right-click on the cloud icon again
  • Click on Quit OneDrive
  • Do good deeds

It’s almost spring. It’s almost bike-riding weather. I’m excited to be riding for a good cause. Please consider sponsoring me.

Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along!


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About the Author

The Technology Shaman, Cate Eales, has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible, and fun for over 30 years.

Cate lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric. She owns and operates Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile computer business providing on-site service for home and small business customers.

Cate is here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with comments, suggestions, or questions.

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