Microsoft has announced we can finally remove USBs without ejecting them

After years of chastising us for failing to safely eject USB drives from computers, Microsoft has done the unthinkable: finally acknowledging it’s okay to yank that sucker out and live your best life.

Ever since USB drives became a thing, the Windows maker has warned and admonished computer users for not safely removing external hardware like USB sticks and external hard drives by ejecting the media before you pull them out.

This protocol has existed for years, and for good reason. In previous versions of Windows, and even in Windows 10, failing to eject USBs (and other external devices, like flash cards) before taking them out could run the risk of significant file problems, especially if data was being written to the drive at the time of removal.

Thankfully, a new update to Windows 10 does away with this painstaking, time-sapping procedure – a commonplace hindrance that over time has become fodder for countless memes.

The update actually rolled out late last year, but is only now getting wider attention thanks to new Microsoft support docs, which explain that, beginning with Windows 10 version 1809, you can now pull that USB out whenever you feel like it.

In earlier versions of Windows, the default policy for handling external media was called ‘Better performance’, which necessitates safely ejecting USB drives before you pull them out.

In the new version 1809 update, ‘Quick removal’ is the new default for all drive formats, keeping the device ready to remove at any time, and without using the Safely Remove Hardware process.

This has been a very long time coming. Despite the change, though, you probably don’t want to tempt fate (or interrupt file transfers) by pulling USB devices out when you know data is actively being copied. But if it’s just sitting there, you’ve now got the green light.

What are you going to do with all the free time this gives you? Be careful. Free time is the key to happiness, they say, but only if you handle it the right way.

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