Fix 'This device is currently in use' Error

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When it comes to removing a USB device from our computers, we often choose to just pull it out of the USB socket. Unfortunately, doing so can cause you to lose files on the device, corrupt them, or even crash applications that were running in tandem with the device. This is why it is advised that you use the “safely remove the USB storage device option” from your task menu prior to removing the USB device from your computer. “This device is currently in use” error occurs for a variety of reasons, either it is interacting with your operating system via background processes, it has malware/viruses, is physically damaged, or has exceeded its storage limit. There are three ways you can fix this issue, but make sure that if your USB device is heavily damaged from unsafe removal, that you recover its data first.

this device is currently in use

How to Recover USB Data with Recovery Software?

If your USB device has become heavily damaged due to unsafe removal, you are probably having issues with accessing the information that is on the device. If this is the case, before you can fix the “this device is currently in use” error code, you need to use a recovery program to retrieve the USB data.  Programs like iMyFone’s AnyRecover can help you in this area with a 98% success rate.

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What Are AnyRecover’s File Recovery Features?

Stress-free recovery. No files are overwritten during the recovery process. Your existing files are safe.

You can recover files from any third-party storage medium, including your USB stick, flash drives, SSDs, music players, memory cards, external hard drives, digital cameras, and camcorders.

You can recover over 1000+ different file types including text, audio, video, emails and documents. If you have archive files, HTML files, or even EXE files - these can be recovered too!

Regardless of the data loss scenario, AnyRecover covers it. This includes data loss due to mishandled devices, power-outages, and file deletion.

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How to Recover USB Data with AnyRecover

Step 1: You need to download and install iMyFone’s AnyRecover onto your computer. Run the program, choose the "External Device Recovery" mode.

external device recovery mode

Step 2: Connect your USB to the computer, and click "Next" to continue the process.

connect to computer

Step 3:  Select the file types from the list and tap "Scan" to begin scaning.

select disk and file type

Step 4: After the scanning process is complete, a list will be compiled of all the files found on your USB device. You can preview these files and choose which ones you want to recover. You had better store them on another external storage device (not your current USB) or on a secure location on your computer’s main hard drive.

preview and recover

Once the files have been copied over to the secure location, you can now access all of the USB files that were previously inaccessible.

3 Methods on How to Fix “This device is currently in use” Error

1Use the Task Manager to End Engaged Processes

The Task Manager window allows you to see and interact with processes that are occurring on your computer. You can use it to enable or disable startup processes or end processes that are frozen or not responding. To access the Task Manager, either type it into your computer search, or hit CTRL + ALT + Delete.

  • 1. Once you have the Task Manager open, click on the processes tab and go through it manually to identify any processes that would be interacting with or using your plugged in USB device.

  • 2. If there are processes that belong to the USB device, right click them and hit the “end” option.

    this device is currently in use

  • 3. Close the Task Management Window and eject your USB device safely.

2Eject the USB Using the Device Manager

The Device Manager is a Control Panel app that allows you to control and view any hardware that is attached to your computer. When a piece of hardware isn’t working, you can find it in the device manager section and use it to sort out the issue. In the case of a USB that will not eject due to being in use, you do the following.

  • 1. In your computer search, type in Control Panel and click on it (or hit enter).

  • 2. Click on the Hardware/Sound Option and click on Device Manager.

  • 3. A window will pop up and you will want to click on the Disk Drives option.

  • 4. You will see all your storage devices under this list. Find the USB storage device and right-click it and hit “uninstall”.

    this device is currently in use

  • 5. Confirm the choice and wait until it is uninstalled.

  • 6. Now remove the device safely from your computer.

3Eject the USB Using Disk Management

The Disk Management utility allows you to manage and view all of the disk drives that are installed on your computer and any and all partitions that are associated with these disk drives. You can safely eject your USB through the Disk Management utility by doing the following.

  • 1. Either right-click on the “My Computer” button or right-click the Windows symbol on your main computer toolbar. Click on the Disk Management option. Or, simply type Disk Management into your computer search.

  • 2. Locate your USB in the disk list and click on it.

  • 3. Now it will show up in the bottom section of the window.  Right click it and hit the eject option. Now you can safely remove the USB from your computer.

    this device is currently in use

Please note that if you are using an external hard drive, you will need to disconnect it via Disk Management by telling it to go offline. With future use, you will need to go back into Disk Management and tell it to go back online.

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By  Simon Marcus , to External Device Recovery

Posted on Nov 15, 2019  ( Updated: May 28, 2020 )

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