When advanced users outsmart themselves: The device removal notification icon


A customer submitted a suggestion to the user interface team about the device removal notification icon.

The device removal notification icon is far too hard to use. When I click on it, I get a menu that says Safely Remove Hardware, and when I click on that menu item, I get a dialog box that lists all the removable devices, with vague names like USB Mass Storage Device and propeller-beanie details like Connected on Port 0006, Hub 0004. When I click the Display device components check box, I'm presented with a tree view of hardware devices that only a geek could love.

This is far too complicated. When I click on the device removal notification icon, I expected to get a simple menu that listed the devices that could be removed in an easy-to-identify manner, such as USB Mass Storage Device on Drive E:. Please consider making this improvement in the next version of Windows.

Um, actually, that menu you are describing is already there, on the left click menu. Because, according to the traditional rules for notification icons (and the device removal icon was written back in Windows 95, when the traditional rules were operative), left clicking gives you the simple menu and right clicking gives you the advanced menu. This customer was so accustomed to right-clicking on notification icons that the idea of left-clicking never even occurred to him.

When I tell this story to other advanced users, I often get the same reaction: "What? You can left-click on that thing and it does something different from right clicking? Dude, why didn't anybody tell me this? I've been doing it the hard way all this time!"

I find this story interesting for a few reasons. First, it shows that differentiating the left click from the right click on notification icons as a way to determine whether to show the simple menu or the advanced menu is now obsolete. Just show the same menu for either click, because users (and these are advanced users, mind you, not just novices) don't even realize that a left click and a right click are different operations at all! And second, it highlights the ineffectiveness of having an Expert mode. These were all advanced users. If there were an Expert setting, they would have set it. And then they not only would have found themselves having to micro-manage the process of removing hardware devices, but also would have asked for a feature that was the same as restoring the novice UI.

Update: Remember, this is part three of a series. Don't forget to read the other two parts.

Comments (135)
  1. asf says:

    clearly, left and right click menu should be the same and shift+rclick for the geeky stuff =)

  2. nathan_works says:

    I’ve know that left click for a while.. But perhaps as explained in your earlier posts this week – there is a non-trivial delay between the left click and the "easy" menu showing up.

    And many folks have been conditioned to right click all icons in the systray to interact with them.

    A quick test:

    Outlook right and left click give the same menu. Double click brings outlook to the foreground.

    Office Communicator: Same as outlook.

    Volume: left click gives simple slider. Right click gives menu with options.. Double click opens the volume control

    NVIDIA: left & right click same options. No double click response.

    So I think it is fair to infer there’s no good guiding rule on what to do with systray icons..

  3. Steve Macpherson says:

    This is something I keep doing actually, and non computer savvy people I know have done by accident too.

    Something like the shift+right click option would be nicer in my opinion.

  4. Pierre B. says:

    Personally, the lesson I learn from this is that advanced, expert Ui should also be simple and clear. In this case, for example, the expert menu could have contained the extra information in addition to the normal information (the extra info being in a smaller typeface with faded color).

    (I’m ready to admit that in 95 days, the screen estate to present all this could have been too much. But it is still a good lesson: expert UI need to be easy to use and comprehensible, too.)

  5. Michael Dwyer says:

    Oh jeeze…  I feel as stupid as when I found out that the squiggly lines in Word came in both red AND green…

    Thank you, once again, for making my Windows experience better…ten years too late.

  6. me says:

    For me, it is always as follows: On a right click, I expect an advanced menu which also includes the menu options I get with a left click on the menu. That’s what "advanced" means to me: I get all the "normal" options, and some more.

    However, for the notification icon, I get a completely different menu. That’s what is surprising for the user here.

  7. Chad Geidel says:

    This catches me all the time…  It would be nice to show the drive name beside the letter, but there’s probably a good reason this isn’t the case.  (also, I probably have too many USB drives connected to my system!)

  8. dave says:

    Holy crap, who knew about that?

    I tried to figure out why I never noticed this. I imagine it’s because the system tray is right next to the task bar buttons. To bring up a menu on a task bar button, one needs to right click. This seems to have conditioned my fingers into right-clicking on everything down there.

    Snarky comment: surely this is the only place in the Windows UI where the non-advanced option does anything you’d actually want?

  9. sethrandall says:

    For me, I expect a right click to do what it does in Word: provide a context menu for something. A left click is for selecting an object. A double click is for activating it and a right click is for a context menu regarding the object.

  10. Alexandre Grigoriev says:

    Raymond,

    This is not Expert vs Luser mode dilemma. This is simple vs unnecessary complicated. You won’t argue that the “Safely Remove Hardware” dialog was very poorly designed. The first sign of a poor design: very long text that explains the user what to do. Second sign is misleading “Stop” button title.

    And all this only makes up for design flaws in the removable storage handling in Windows. Normally, the lazy write delay for the removable storage should be pretty short. The volume should be “undirtied” very quickly. But, for example, Windows 2003 has it very long. No matter how long you wait, the volume won’t be marked as “good”, and if you plug it to Windows2008/Vista, you’ll get a prompt for disk scan. Which, by the way, is another mis-designed piece of UI. You have to do like three mouse clicks to get through it. It should be done automatically; the user only should get a prompt if 1) it takes longer than a few seconds or 2) errors found and needed to be fixed.

    [You’re confusing “dirty buffers” with “inconsistent disk state”. You can have clean buffers with inconsistent disk state. Hint: Open file handles. (Some state is not updated until the handle is closed.) -Raymond]
  11. Alexandre Grigoriev says:

    James,

    I think "Safely Remove Devices" didn’t appear until Windows 98. Windows 95 didn’t have USB, after all.

  12. ! says:

    Windows can’t stop your ‘Generic Volume’ device because it is in use. Close any programs or windows that might be using the device, and try again later.

    Or just use floppies or yank it when the light is not blinking or something. All this whole thing is here just to scare you, the result of braindead design. You’ll be struck by lightning before you lose data due to "improper" removal.

    What do you get when you combine these?

    • A syncronous write policy that destroys performance on anything but large file copies, which is there in place precisely to get everything written as fast as possible, prevent delays and guarantee that the moment the light stops blinking everything is safely written
    • Silly UI design which warrants a post in TONT, is rather confusing, and whose recommended left-click mode has a double-click delay (the double-click takes you to the same place as the right-click menu)

    • Plenty of software bugs, both first- and third-party, which prevent safe removal from working quite often (do you have telemetry data for this?)

    • An incredibly scary warning about unsafe removal, which is blatantly false for all practical purposes

    • The lack of a forced removal option which at least unmounts the filesystem cleanly (as opposed to the yank that is going to happen regardless)

    I find it amazing that such a system ever saw the light of the day. Back on 1999 maybe, but today this is just unnacceptable.

  13. Scott says:

    @Alexandre

    Windows 95 had something similar for PCMCIA cards. I was just playing with an old tablet running Win95 with Pen extensions last night, and it yelled at me for popping out the network card. The icon was actually a little card-shaped thing rather than a somewhat generic plug-looking thing though.

  14. cthulhu says:

    well as a super user (on a somewhat higher plane than mere advanced users), I tend to just yank the device out of the slot. Haven’t lost much data this way.

  15. Erzengel says:

    "You’ll be struck by lightning before you lose data due to "improper" removal."

    Well I better stay indoors because I HAVE lost data this way, and in fact have apparently damaged at 2gb thumb drive (it won’t hold more than 1gb now).

    However, because left click has an annoying delay, I actually click and drag the icon into the screen and the instant I let go the left click menu appears under my cursor. This also makes it easier to see because it’s not in a corner of the screen.

  16. Yuhong Bao says:

    "Windows 95 had something similar for PCMCIA cards."

    And the process that handled that icon was called systray.exe, leading to the mistake of calling the notification area the "system tray". It became so common, even KDE ended up copying it. Luckily GNOME used the right name.

  17. Wayne says:

    Add me to the list of people who’ve never seen that left-click menu before and have constantly bitched about the ineffectiveness of the "Safely Remove Hardware" tray icon and dialog.  

    But I realized why I (or for that matter everyone else I know) have never found that menu.  What the heck is a left-click menu?  No where else in Windows does this concept seem to exist.  If you single click on an icon anywhere else one of two things happen: You select the item or you activate an operation.  The left-click menu seems like a completely foreign concept to me.

    I started single left-clicking on tray icons to see what they do.  A few Microsoft products pop-up the right-click menu but a few don’t (Onenote opens a new note).  All other tray icons either do nothing or perform some kind of operation.  Which is what I expect them to do.  Where did this concept of left-click menu ever come from and how did it survive usability testing?

  18. James Schend says:

    Alexandre Grigoriev

    Am I taking crazy pills? Raymond’s post RIGHT HERE ON THIS PAGE says that that interface existed in Windows 95. Do you have any actual evidence, Alexandre, that Raymond’s wrong? Or what?

  19. John says:

    I think Wayne is right.  The concept of a left-click context menu seems to be used exclusively by the notification area.  Maybe this wasn’t always the case, but I’ve used Windows for a really long time and can’t think of any other instances of left-click context menus.  Perhaps it wasn’t always this way?

  20. Ryan says:

    This icon does not follow the traditional rules and is not intuitive.

    The tradition instead is that a left click brings up a simple menu, a double click brings up a simple window, and a right click provides advanced options.

    In this case, having the right click identical to the double click causes confusion.

  21. Wang-Lo says:

    I just KNEW putting a button on the mouse was a rotten idea, as soon as Doug showed it to me.  "Put the button on a separate box," I said.  "Users can operate with both hands, and you can add more buttons later," I said.  "Lots of buttons.  Four, maybe five."

    Nobody ever listens to me.

    -Wang-Lo.

  22. I’ve never known this was the case. I am in shock that I didn’t know this.

    Thanks for this post. God, I feel dumb now.

  23. Alexandre Grigoriev says:

    [You’re confusing "dirty buffers" with "inconsistent disk state". You can have clean buffers with inconsistent disk state. Hint: Open file handles. (Some state is not updated until the handle is closed.) -Raymond]

    Raymond, please, don’t BS me. I’m not your average home user. I know what’s updated, why and when. I know how the disk cache should work. I just don’t know why it was broken in Win2003 (used to be better in XP).

    The typical use scenario of a removable storage is to move files to/from it. You stick the drive in, copy files from it, now you would expect you can yank it painlessly. Not in Win2003.

    You copy a bunch of files to the USB disk, you would expect nobody has handles open to it anymore, and all written data is lazily flushed to it shortly, and all lazily updated metadata is also committed shortly. This doesn’t happen, though. Why?

    A sane filesystem/cache design for a removable volume would: limit amount of dirty backlog to certain size, and have a finite upper boundary for metadata commit. Do not modify the disk if it’s just read (away with those stupid "last access" timestamps). And not mark the disk "dirty" when it’s only read. This would guarantee that after the disk is idle, you can yank it and be OK.

  24. Hob Gadling says:

    I left click since I learned the trick a couple of years ago.

    However, if you have 2 or more USB drives attached then quite often then that menu isn’t very helpful as it just gives a sparse list (just drive names.) You then have to open My Computer or Explorer to see which drive it is exactly that you want to eject…

    I wish Windows would put at least the volume label in there. Ideally even the drive icon.

  25. kl says:

    It’s a menu. Right click is for menus! Left click is for immediate actions. Your rules for notifications area are inconsistent with everything else, so it’s not surprising that users got it wrong.

  26. kl says:

    It’s a menu. Right click is for menus! Left click is for immediate actions. Your rules for notifications area are inconsistent with everything else, so it’s not surprising that users got it wrong.

  27. Not everyone has the same mouse button layout as you. Lefties appreciate it when you avoid value-laden words like RIGHT-click and LEFT-click and use more semantically meaningful words like command-click, shift-click, option-click, alt-click, etc.

    [This has already been the topic of a previous Nitpicker’s Corner. Don’t make me bring it back. -Raymond]
  28. Aaargh! says:

    Also please have an option to disable the use of colors and animation in the notification area.

  29. Igor Levicki says:

    Business as usual then — Microsoft is casually making UI features hard to discover even in such an obvious case like this one.

    There should be no menu when you left click. Left click is reserved for opening the program interface. Right click is reserved for the context menu. That IS a context menu.

    It is so simple, yet people at Microsoft make it so complicated each time and it seems to be a rising trend these days with all the "improvements" in Vista and Windows 7 interfaces.

  30. xix says:

    This was news to me recently.  I left double-click the icons to bring the related app up, I right click them to bring up menus.  I don’t think I’ve ever left single-clicked a notification icon.  

    Except perhaps the volume control where I discovered one day that it brings up a small volume widget that I only found because of a failed double-click to bring up the full window.  I might have left single-clicked other things at the time to see what happened, but as other posters have stated, it usually does nothing, or brings up the same as right click.

    The Safely Remove Hardware icon the weirdo.

  31. Antoine says:

    Modern rules for systray icons tend to mimick that of desktop icons: right-click for contextual menu, double-click (or left-click) to open a window. It makes the UI more consistent. I don’t have a single systray icon that does it otherwise.

    Having 2 different contextual menus is confusing. Microsoft should have merged both into one:

    remove device x

    remove device y

    advanced…

  32. wazoox says:

    Anyway Microsoft had it completely wrong. The mac way is much easier, simple and discoverable: the right place for the "samfely remove" option is on the device context menu and an option in the explorer menu when a storage device is selected.

  33. someone else says:

    Also please have an option to disable the use of colors and animation in the notification area.

    There is no such thing as animation in the TNA. There is however the possibility to update the icon (e. g. to show the status of your virus protection). You might not want to disable it.

  34. D. Roberts says:

    "Because, according to the traditional rules for notification icons (and the device removal icon was written back in Windows 95, when the traditional rules were operative), left clicking gives you the simple menu and right clicking gives you the advanced menu. This customer was so accustomed to right-clicking on notification icons that the idea of left-clicking never even occurred to him."

    Here’s an idea – rather than magically assuming the customer knows the difference between right and left click in this scenario, actually tell them the purpose of each click type.

    Seriously, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard of the Beginner/Advanced split between left and right click. I always assumed (and most other people probably assume this too) that it’s just a poorly designed way of hiding extra available functions that don’t fit elsewhere. Not that there’s some beginner/advanced logic behind it.

  35. Wayne says:

    "the right place for the "safely remove" option is on the device context menu and an option in the explorer menu when a storage device is selected."

    It’s there as well: right-click on the device in explorer and select the eject option.  Since until today I had no idea about the single-click tray icon menu, using the eject option is how I normally unmounted USB drives.

  36. Nathan says:

    I think the reason everyone right clicks is because right clicking almost anywhere else in Windows brings up the contextual menu. There are not many places that left-clicking brings up a menu…

  37. D. Roberts says:

    Also, sorry for the double comment, but:

    "If there were an Expert setting, they would have set it. And then they not only would have found themselves having to micro-manage the process of removing hardware devices, but also would have asked for a feature that was the same as restoring the novice UI"

    This does not show the flaws in an expert mode – it shows lack of thinking for who these experts are, and why they’re using the mode in the first place (if it were to exist). They want to get away from the ‘fluff’ aimed at novice users, they don’t necessarily want to deprived of information in exchange for less useful / very narrow information (Drive label/letter vs. name in the hardware tree etc.)

    Why can you not just merge them both? I can think of a lot of expert uses for Windows in general terms (ridding of the annoying ‘helpfulness’ of the UI in some places) but I can think of none where an ‘expert’ would need to know the exact hardware tree name / full type label. Is it really that difficult to think of the potential customers, and just compromise and simplify? (Show both the drive label and the extended detail in the ‘expert mode’. Job done. You satisfy experts who don’t care for the full hardware location, and those who want details)

  38. josh says:

    good to know if you didn’t already…

    now if only the damn thing would actually work! no matter what I do, windows ALWAYS says it can’t stop my device because it’s in use…

    what’s the engineering behind that one?

  39. Scott says:

    I think it’s still pretty silly that the menu does not show the friendly volume names instead / in addition to the drive letters.  I usually label each of my USB drives, but instead of seeing

    “Safely remove E: – Work”

    “Safely remove F: – Archive”

    I just see a list of drive letters which can be especially confusing when you’ve got a flash card reader taking up 5 drive letters…

    my 2 cents

    [Be careful what you ask for because you will hate it. The menu will now take 30 seconds to appear because it has to spin up your USB floppy drive and USB CD-ROM drive to read the volume label. And then people will be saying, “What idiot thought it would be a good idea to access all the ejectable drives in my system when I right-click on this icon?” -Raymond]
  40. Tom says:

    I know it’s late in the day and no one will ever read this, but I have to say that the "Left-click menu" is absolutely consistent with Windows.  Think about the menu bar of an application — left-click on the File menu to open it and display a bunch of other options.  It is perfectly acceptable to expect that left-clicking on a notification icon should do the same thing — bring up a menu.

    The problem is the half-second delay with some icons.  I know about the "wait for double click" effect from Raymond’s previous post, but I think that the lack of immediate feedback inevitably forces people to "right-click by default" because it’s the only action that presents immediate results.

    Honestly, though, if a notification icon would pop-up the menu above the task bar instead of over the icon, then you shouldn’t have to wait the half-second to test for double click — the menu could still appear on the WM_MOUSEUP and, since the menu is not over the icon, the second click of the double-click would just execute the default action of the menu.

  41. John says:

    This seems to be fixed in Windows 7. Left clicking and right clicking both bring up the simple menu.

  42. Timothy Byrd says:

    I left-click the Safely Remove Hardware icon out of habit, because I prefer the simple menu – does that make me an un-advanced user?  (Also, after these recent posts of Raymond’s I’m going to have to pay attention to the 1/2 second delay.) But then, I tend to try both left and right click on things I’m not familiar with.

    One thing I do wish I could change about Safely Remove Hardeware is that I would like to find a simple way to keep my hard drives out of that menu. I know that if I mis-click and accidentally try to remove my C: drive it won’t happen because the drive is in use, but I just don’t want to see it in the menu. I suppose it’s all made more complicated because nowadays there are e-SATA drives that need to be shut down.

  43. Andrew says:

    "because users (and these are advanced users, mind you, not just novices) don’t even realize that a left click and a right click are different operations at all!"

    No, what it shows is that popping up a menu on left click is unexpected behavior. Popping up a context menu on right-click is expected behavior. Bringing up a dialog with further information on double-click or bringing up a related application on double-click is expected behavior. The prevailing behavior for systray icons on left-click is to do nothing.

  44. Alan De Smet says:

    This is a terrible argument for the ineffectiveness of an expert mode.  This is an argument against having two interfaces separated by a distinction so subtle that most experts overlook it, and the two interface are so wildly different that they seem entirely unrelated to each other.  As others have noted, the "export mode" could have included the same information as the normal mode in addition to to the techie bits.  It’s a crappy interface.

  45. DoesNotMatter says:

    For me it’s

    Left Click*: Run/Open/Most logical action for the file/app/icon I just clicked.

    Right Click: Menu what I want to do to**

    *By which I mean double click.

    **ie. open an img-rar with winrar instead the standard action of opening it in photoshop.

  46. David Brooks says:

    I meant to make this comment yesterday, but… Windows Update seems to provide another bad example: it opens the main window on single left click. Or perhaps it’s an example of an extension to the general rule: if the hypothetical simple menu would contain only one command, single click executes it. The only thing a non-power user can sensiby do with the Windows Update icon is Open.

    Oh, wait. It doesn’t do anything if it’s downloading updates. Pah.

    [Oh great, now not only do I have to bring back the Nitpicker’s Corner, I also have to bring back the Norman Diamond Clarification? -Raymond]
  47. Liam says:

    My father who is not computer literate knows this. Then again he presses every possible combination of buttons, even when the action for the last click has not had time to propagate a feed back to the user.

    Damn! The moral of the story is my father is an "advanced user" :)

  48. Ben L says:

    wow! I never noticed that….ever.

    since the right click menu has only on option all the left click items should be listed above it.

  49. Spencer Miller says:

    @Alexandre

    Windows 95 OSR2 didn’t install USB support by default, but it was included on the CD.

  50. James Schend says:

    Nathan:

    The delay is a half-second by default. That’s pretty trivial.

    As for your quick test, Raymond said in the very article you’re commenting on that the "Safely Remove Devices" icon dates back to Windows 95, which is why it follows the *original* design plan of having the right-click menu being advanced options and left-click being simple options.

    Yesterday’s entry informed us all that the Windows 95 paradigm of what right-click and left-click do isn’t followed/expected anymore.

    All of the applications you list either didn’t exist in Windows 95, or have been totally re-written since then.

    I don’t get why it’s so hard to understand… the response to your comment is all there in the post. Or were you just posting to gripe?

  51. Michael Kohne says:

    I think the problem is that many of the tray icons DO present the same menu for left and right clicks. I’ve gotten so used to them being the same, that I tend to assume that they ARE the same.

    For the record, I had to be told this trick by a tech at a previous job. I was fighting this for many moons before he showed me…

  52. James Schend says:

    I have to admit I used to right-click that icon for a period of a few months before the "there *has* to be a better way" filter in my brain triggered. Then I fiddled with it and found the left-click menu.

  53. Eric Cosky says:

    The latency in the left click pop up fools many users into thinking it isn’t doing anything. I expect when I click something for there to be a response. Try it. Left click on the remove hardware. Notice the menu isn’t immediately coming up; there is enough time to think "that didn’t work, try right click". Enough time, in fact, to move the mouse completely to the opposite side of the screen before the left click menu appears by the mouse.

    On the other hand, right click appears immediately, communicating that *this* is what the icon is intended to do and I have thus been trained to use right click on this tool. The delay on left clicking doesn’t make any sense to me here and I expect is the real problem people have with it.

  54. oakfed says:

    Windows 95 didn’t have USB, after all

    Actually, it did – USB support was added in Windows 95 OSR 2.1 (one of the later releases, included only on OEM hardware).

  55. Rob K says:

    I disagree. It works fine as is and these "advanced users" aren’t expert users. Expert users would have fully understood the behavior of the system before complaining about it and suggesting changes.

  56. Alexandre Grigoriev says:

    @Timothy Byrd,

    Your SATA host driver thinks those drives are removable, on external SATA cable. You probably need a driver update. Or your ACPI BIOS tables are wrong, in which case you need BIOS update.

    @Josh,

    The darn thing is borken in Vista/2008 – if you have your drive open in Explorer, you can’t unmount it. Seems fixed in Win7.

  57. Gaspar says:

    @Wayne

    "But I realized why I (or for that matter everyone else I know) have never found that menu.  What the heck is a left-click menu?  No where else in Windows does this concept seem to exist.  If you single click on an icon anywhere else one of two things happen: You select the item or you activate an operation.  The left-click menu seems like a completely foreign concept to me."

    Three words for you:

    "drop down menu"

  58. Blarn says:

    Wow, a Raymond post that makes me feel good for being aware of something already :)

    Maybe I can attribute this to my never expecting UI consistency in Windows.  I usually blame that on third parties rather than Microsoft, but obviously MS has been growing and growing, to the point where it must be downright impossible to make sure everyone’s following a reasonable standard.

  59. devlinb says:

    A lot of icons in the notification area do not have a left click menu and only respond to right clicking.

    Microsoft Forefront Client, my ATI driver, the "Windows Security Alerts" shield icon, and a good number of instant messenger apps.

    Users have been well trained to expect left clicking to do absolutely nothing in the notification area, it is not too surprising that they are surprised by the few apps that implement the UI properly.

  60. Tim! says:

    @Lefties McLefty:

    All the lefties I know keep the standard button layout.  They left-click with their middle or ring finger, and right-click with their index finger.

    Why make things hard on yourself by mirroring everything?  Left- and right-click were around long before contoured, handedness-specific mice were designed.

  61. Jon Grant says:

    I have to say – I knew about this already, and I’m actually quite surprised that there are people who call themselves "geeks" who didn’t know about it. But, as mentioned above in much snarkier terms, the real problem is that this icon is needed at all.

  62. Obvious solution –

    1) disable left-click altogether.

    2) right-click to bring up the current left-click menu, with an additional entry: "Advanced…", at the bottom.

    3) clicking Advanced brings up the UI that currently appears when right-clicking.

  63. Marty Fried says:

    I knew about this, but sometimes I still right-click first, then remember to left click.  I normally expect right-click to have the left- click option, plus advanced options, rather than leaving off the left-click one.  So, I usually use right click so I immediately have choices instead of remembering what the left click will do.

    I’m willing to admit that my expectations may be incorrect, but for some reason, that’s what I expect.

  64. Er, what Antoine said (now that I go back and read the comments.)

  65. Mark Sowul says:

    Agreed about showing the volume name – especially if your machine has one of those all-in-one flash readers built in, and it’s tough to know what drive letter you want.

    Now, my question is: why does safe removal not (always) work right for NTFS drives (at least in Vista)?  And why is it using System Volume Information on the drive (which is what the open files handles seem to be, owned by the kernel) when I’ve turned off System Restore info on the drive?

  66. Louis says:

    Apparently the above mentioned feature (tray icon rearrangement) is provided by Taskbar Shuffle, which also allows one to drag & drop one’s taskbar icons: http://nerdcave.webs.com/taskbarshuffle.htm

  67. Anonymous Coward says:

    I think there are two lessons to learn here.

    1) The rules for systray icons are inconsistent with what users expect based on their interactions with pretty much everything else on their computer and therefore wrong.

    2) The USB mass storage mechanism is inexcusably dysfunctional. Would it have killed people to supply an indicator so you know when it’s safe to yank the thing out? No interaction needed in the vast majority of cases.

  68. Zen Anonymous says:

    I’ve known this for as long as I can remember, but it is pretty silly design.  Honestly, would it kill them to combine the two into a single menu?  Have the quick-select, but under all the listed devices have an "Advanced…" option.  This seems to be in line with most other things in Windows and would remove this confusion completely.

  69. David Pritchard says:

    I agree with the others that this is not an argument against expert modes in general. The problem is, this particular "expert mode" is one that almost nobody appears to want.

  70. dalek says:

    @Anonymous Coward

    supply an indicator so you know when it’s safe to yank the thing out?

    What if you have 2 or more usb devices connected?

    How would you indicate which device is ready to be removed?

  71. Rick Damiani says:

    "This does not show the flaws in an expert mode – it shows lack of thinking for who these experts are, and why they’re using the mode in the first place (if it were to exist)."

    An ‘expert mode’ would be something that any user could enable, even if they aren’t an expert. There isn’t any testing involved.

  72. bobajob says:

    Not sure you can call someone an ‘advanced user’ who doesn’t appreciate the the left and right mouse buttons might do different things.

  73. abadidea says:

    It never, ever occurred to me to try left-clicking that icon. It’s 100% ingrained in me that you right-click to get a menu. I guess that’s the point of these posts, though… (And I *was* thinking just a few days ago, why does this menu do things the complicated way?)

  74. Crosscut says:

    @Timothy Byrd,

    To remove SATA hdd from the list if you have an nForce4 motherboard…

    http://www.trilithium.com/johan/

  75. Subu says:

    There is a catch here: When you double left click, it brings up the same right click dialog:)

  76. Joe Butler says:

    From my experience, the non-advanced users are also right-clicking this icon.  I noticed this while providing support to teachers in a school.  I found it by accident after using the right-click for a while, but one of the first things I do with new Windows is right-click everything in sight before doing anything constructive with it.  Yeah, there’s new icony thing.  I’m supposed to click that – what happens if I right-click?

    Funny.  I found out just now that I can RIGHT-click my network icon for a menu.  I usually am LEFT-clicking to get dns ips, etc.  

  77. Nicholas Sherlock says:

    For the people that suggest that the "remove hardware" icon shouldn’t be needed, consider this: What if you have a logging application that opens a file on the drive every 1 second, writes to it, and closes it. If you explicitly eject the drive, Windows can wait a short period for there to be no file locks, then eject the drive. If you just yank it out, you can never be sure that it isn’t in the middle of writing to the disk when you do. You can’t wait for the OS to tell you that the drive is idle, because as you are pulling it out, it could become active again.

  78. Worf says:

    Ah yes, I remember accidentally discovering it one day and noticed it brought up a simple menu. Tooke me a while to figure out what caused it, until I saw a left-click doing it.

    To this day I still find myself accidentally right-clicking it.

  79. Dominic Self says:

    Scott makes a good point – sometimes I *have* to use the more complex route because the simple menu doesn’t actually display the name of the device…

  80. TK says:

    The left click response is just too slow – I left-clicked on the icon and thought nothing happened, so then I right-clicked it before the simple menu came up. I don’t think anything more complicated is needed – just speed up the left-click response rate.

  81. Johannes says:

    I think many users are simply conditioned to think that right-click provides a context menu and left-click doesn’t. So when they expect to see a context menu they don’t even try to left-click but go straight for the right-click. I find myself still using right-click on that notification icon even though I consciously know the left-click gets me there faster.

  82. Louis says:

    WTF, playing around, I managed to rearrange the tray* icons per drag and drop.. since when is that possible!?! That’s new to me!

    Or is it because I have a tray manager (PS Tray Factory) running as a service?

    * yeah I know you don’t like that term, but everyone else gets it :p

  83. Nicolas B says:

    Well, it’s obvious why people miss it.

    RIGHT CLICK == CONTEXTUAL MENU

    Where is it standard to provide a contextual menu on a left click? Nobody expects it to happen.

    The UI is wrong, not the user.

  84. john says:

    in XP, i could right click the network connection icon, and pick "open network connections".  BAM – i’m in network connections.  Or, i could left click it for status.

    In Vista, the click behavior is weird, I have to navigate several windows to get to the network connection properties – it SUCKS!   PUT IT BACK.

  85. Richard says:

    You know, that single button mouse that everyone *hates*?  :)

  86. manicmarc says:

    I always left click. I remember seeing people at Uni right clicking and taking much longer to simply eject a disk. It yes it does seem strange, another example of how the user interface of XP was so terribly inconsistent. Since Windows 95 I have never known system tray icons having left click context menus, with the exception of the volume control (and that’s not even a menu).

    In XP I noticed some applications like Windows Messenger would display the same menu no matter what mouse button was used, and in Vista’s built in notification icons, thankfully we don’t have context menus at all for the left click option (and no delay either), instead some sort of widget. Windows 7 has improved further by encouraging developers to take applications out of the system tray (aka notification area) and use their own task bar icon to provide status information. The idea of minimizing a program to a different place because it’s important, or you might run it all day, seems odd, but I guess back in 1998 with your screen set to a 800* 600 resolution, the task bar could only show about 4 different programs and so it became necessary to move long running applications somewhere else.

  87. Raymond II says:

    Reply to Raymond’s reply:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/archive/2009/05/01/9581563.aspx#9582967

    [Be careful what you ask for because you will hate it. The menu will now take 30 seconds to appear because it has to spin up your USB floppy drive and USB CD-ROM drive to read the volume label. (…) -Raymond]

    Not to make this into a lecture on removable device management internals, but I’m curious as to why it doesn’t list the already cached names associated with the drive letters. Windows Explorer can show the label, but the Safely Remove Hardware process can’t?

  88. Gabe says:

    Raymond II: What if the name isn’t cached? Haven’t you ever opened Explorer’s tree view, only to wait half a minute or more for it to spin up your drives so it can figure out what icon/volume name to show?

    Of course you’re probably thinking that it should only show cached names if available, but I’m guessing that there is only an API for GetVolumeName that returns the cached value if available or spins up the drive if not — there is no GetCachedVolumeName that fails if the name isn’t cached.

  89. waleri says:

    >>> What if you have 2 or more usb devices connected?

    >>> How would you indicate which device is ready to be removed?

    Very simple – display the indicator when *all* devices are ready for removal. In 99% of the cases ppl use *one* device for *writing* and in some of those cases one other for *reading*.

    [“Once again proof that Microsoft UI is designed by idiots: I can’t eject my thumb drive until my print queue is empty!?” -Raymond]
  90. mx.2000 says:

    Count me in as one of those advanced users who didn’t know about this.

    Two reasons:

    *) There is a *huge* delay, >1s. This is much more than on the volume control or power management, with I actually do use with left click. (It’s ok that it takes some time to gather the information, but at least display a placeholder to indicate that you’re planning to show something.)

    *) More than half of the icons in my tray simply do nothing on a single left click, so I usually right click unless I know better.

    Combine the two and you know why so few people notice. By the time Windows finally gets around displaying that menu, most advanced users will already have double or right clicked to get some kind of reaction from the thing.

    Small implementation detail, big user experience impact.

  91. Igor Levicki says:

    "What idiot thought it would be a good idea to access all the ejectable drives in my system when I right-click on this icon?"

    Err… perhaps the same idiot who didn’t think about caching the names and providing an API for getting those without spinning the drives?

    Do you really have to justify your salary by implying how everything is complex beyond comprehension?

    As for the inability to remove devices and indicators — why USB Sig never defined a mandatory dedicated green LED on each USB device which turns on when it is safe to remove the device?

    And no, I am not talking about an activity LED here, but about a dedicated "ready to remove" LED which would be controlled by the OS.

    What is the extra cost per device? One LED, and LEDs are cheap, much cheaper than the whole "Remove hardware" software interface which by the way doesn’t work more often than it does.

  92. peterchen says:

    Heh – same happened to me!

    Still, there are two usability problems with that:

    The advanced menu contains *only* the advanced options (rather, option), and there’s an really annoying delay in the  left click menu. (Probably #2 is the reason for #1, but still..)

  93. porter says:

    >> Very simple – display the indicator when *all* devices are ready for removal. In 99% of the cases ppl use *one* device for *writing* and in some of those cases one other for *reading*.

    As H L Mencken said "Complex problems have simple, easy to understand solutions that are wrong."

  94. porter says:

    > As for the inability to remove devices and indicators — why USB Sig never defined a mandatory dedicated green LED on each USB device which turns on when it is safe to remove the device?

    For the very reason that what you consider should be mandatory, many others think should be optional.

  95. Anonymous says:

    porter: you’re wasting your time.  Others don’t exist outside of Igor Levicki.

  96. Nick says:

    I find it immensely humorous that so many "power users" of Windows don’t know about something like this.  Sure, it may not be directly intuitive, but at the same time, I always figured knowing these kinds of "tricks" was one of the things that defined a power user.

    My beef with the device removal tool is that it was changed from a notification balloon to a modal dialog box in Vista. I would love to know the UI reasoning for this change since the only thing I can figure is that the balloon would disappear leaving some people not knowing if they could remove the device or not (and that seems like a really weak reason).

    It would also be very nice if it could tell the user what program was keeping the device from being removed, and if it is Explorer, take steps to allow removal.

  97. Ed Ball says:

    Yeah, my *wife* taught me the left-click trick recently, after I’d been doing it the hard way for years uncounted.

  98. Random832 says:

    Speaking of this icon – why is it that in Vista, having an explorer window open prevents device removal (whereas in XP, it closes the explorer window)?

  99. Will says:

    @John.  Regarding the "network connections" icon in Vista, there are two ways to access it directly.  Just create a shortcut to:

    %systemroot%system32ncpa.cpl

    or

    explorer.exe ::{7007ACC7-3202-11D1-AAD2-00805FC1270E}

    Depending on which method you use, the resulting network connection window behaves slightly differently.  I don’t remember the exact difference, but I liked the 2nd method better.

    Remember, google is your friend in situations like this.

  100. Austin says:

    I had always sort of assumed that right-clicking was the only way be shown a menu from a notification icon was to right click it.  When I found out about left-clicking them, remove disks (and mount disks in DAEMON Tools) became much easier.

  101. ulric says:

    Baffling.  I’ve never known that this was there, partly because of that Stupid, Stupid delay for on the left mouse click.

    To avoid that baffling context menu (what am I ejecting?  I have two 4 port SD/SM/etc card plugs, on the PC and the monitor), I instead eject these devices using the the context menu the disk drive icon.

    (but really, why should I left-click on icons on the notification bar?  they don’t look like pushable buttons)

    The discoverability of how to properly eject a USB disk or key in Windows is one of the biggest user interface failure in Windows.  It is *so* much clearer on OS X!

    Also, OS X is able to close a Finder window that’s open on the drive, while Vista seems to not know Explorer is the application preventing the eject.

    It’s the biggest FAIL in UI design, and it has the arrogance of chastising users for not ejecting properly.

  102. Ari says:

    I think Raymonds comments on this are spot on.

    There really is no justification for the more complicated dialog, no one WANTS or NEEDS to use it. It is a simple eject or deactivate control.

    As for the comments, you should never have to be a power user to do simple things in a simple way. The simple way should be the default and power users may have a more complicated way of doing the same with more fine-grained control.

    Adding to that, the behaviour of the OS not understanding that Explorer is the open app which stops the eject is just ridiculous. The eject operation should obviously kill any OS operations or at least throw up a USABLE and informative dialog.

  103. someone else says:

    Also, OS X is able to close a Finder window that’s open on the drive, while Vista seems to not know Explorer is the application preventing the eject.

    Especially considering that this works fine with optical drives.

  104. Yuhong Bao says:

    "The darn thing is borken in Vista/2008 – if you have your drive open in Explorer, you can’t unmount it. Seems fixed in Win7."

    I know! I hit this a lot.

  105. Igor Levicki says:

    "For the very reason that what you consider should be mandatory, many others think should be optional."

    What a smart-ass comment.

    Is the "Safely Remove Hardware" interface optional?!?

    Yeah, that’s what I thought — it is not optional.

    What I suggested was to trade one mandatory interface (software) for the other (hardware) which would be easier to use, cheaper to implement, and which would work for a change, and you are jumping all over me for impeding your right to a daily dose of "optional"?!?

    No wonder that everything is so broken today when people are so thick — you really deserve this chaos which is a direct result of having too much useless choice.

  106. porter says:

    > What I suggested was to trade one mandatory interface (software) for the other (hardware) which would be easier to use, cheaper to implement, and which would work for a change, and you are jumping all over me for impeding your right to a daily dose of "optional"?!?

    Don’t worry, when you are the dictator the world will be perfect, but meantime, while people still have choice they have the right to choose different solutions to you.

  107. Miral says:

    I have always used left-click, since I first learned about it.  But as others have said, my first inclination is to right-click because that’s just what you do to get a menu (normally).

    Other things about this interface that annoy me, though (WinXP, WinXP x64):

    • there isn’t a way to hide drives; currently it shows my main drive in the list as well.  I’m not sure whether this is because it’s SATA or because it’s RAID, but either way it’s annoying.
    • it often does the wrong thing; I have a USB card reader built into my case (though to Windows it just looks like a regular USB device).  If I Safely Remove any of its drives, it removes the entire card reader, not just the card.  The only way to get it back is to reboot or open up the case and unplug/replug the reader.  So I pretty much have to just yank & hope with cards, which defeats the whole point.

    • it gives useless error messages.  "The volume cannot be stopped at this time."  Ok, but why?  What processes have the file open right now?  Let me know so that I can close them!  (I use ProcExp to answer this question.  But I shouldn’t have to.)

    I really hope this behaves better in Win7…

  108. Falcon says:

    To those who are complaining about not being allowed to stop the device while Explorer is displaying its contents – I agree that it’s frustrating, however I don’t think Explorer should be given special treatment by the OS – it’s an app like any other.

    Even if it did, how is the OS meant to know that Explorer is doing something insignificant like enumerating files and/or reading some metadata from them, as opposed to an important operation that could cause corruption if interrupted?

    The point of the software eject/stop/remove action is precisely to avoid these types of incidents. If you want to eject the media and "kill any OS operations", you can do that already – just unplug it! (If you meant "kill the operations in a safe way", can you think of a way to communicate such a request to an application? If some method does exist that I don’t know about, you’re welcome to correct me.)

  109. HagenP says:

    Suggestion: For MSDs, add the currently mapped drive names to the device names displayed in the “Safely remove hardware” dialogue.

    This would benefit both user groups.

    [Try left-clicking. -Raymond]
  110. steve says:

    The reason I only recently discovered the ‘easy’ left-click menu was because I didn’t think that single left clicking icons did anything.  

    Oh – these are ‘notification icons’ – what was I thinking?

  111. Medinoc says:

    Well, there is a lot of arguing back and forth here.

    But I simply support "me"’s opinion: The right-click "advanced" menu is flawed, because it’s not a strict superset of the left-click menu.

  112. Very Interesting! How did this guy MANAGE to contact User Interface team? I’m sooooo curious!

  113. Pete says:

    I didn’t know there was a left click menu, amazing I have missed that for years, despite using the left click for the volume control. I really don’t think a left and right button menu is a good idea though, just have one.

  114. TJ says:

    I find this amusing, just because I’ve always known to just left-click and most people I know always right-click and go through all the dialogs and then look at me like I’m dumb when I say they can just left-click. But it seems to me that people are trained to right-click with icons in the system tray and that’s why most people right-click on the device removal notification icon.

  115. Ian Boyd says:

    What? You can left-click on that thing and it does something different from right clicking? Dude, why didn’t anybody tell me this? I’ve been doing it the hard way all this time!

  116. waleri says:

    >>> [For nitpickers: s/can’t/don’t know when it’s safe to/ -Raymond]

    I guess I either miss something or I can’t explain what I had in mind.

    I believe that:

    a) User can always unmount a device manualy. If the device is not ready, OS flushes the device, then indicate it as “safe to remove”.

    b) The OS itself always knows when it safe to remove a device, so no problem to indicate “all devices are ready”.

    “b)” is the part I don’t/can’t understand – is there a technical obstacle for this? True, devices won’t be signaled as “ready” until last one finishes its job, but so what – user still can do it manually.

    [Problem: Need a no-click way of knowing whether my thumb drive can be removed safely. Solution: Add an indicator that says “all devices can be removed safely.” Flaw: If there is a device that is chronically unsafe to remove, then the indicator is useless. (The unremovable device masks the removable state of the thumb drive.) -Raymond]
  117. waleri says:

    Well, I guess I simply never encountered a chronically unsafe to remove device…

  118. waleri says:

    >>> [“Once again proof that Microsoft UI is designed by idiots: I can’t eject my thumb drive until my print queue is empty!?” -Raymond]

    Who said you can’t? Having a signal that *all* devices are ready to be removed doesn’t mean you cannot unmount them manually via that context menu.

    I only whish the devices themselves have an indicator (light) about being ready to be removed. Sort of “OS set the busy flag, write the data, flush the queue, clear the flag” and the light is out. Ah, where is that time machine…

    [For nitpickers: s/can’t/don’t know when it’s safe to/ -Raymond]
  119. porter says:

    > Well, I guess I simply never encountered a chronically unsafe to remove device…

    Imagine you have a smart-card reader USB device that you use to authenticate you. You don’t want to have to disconnect that just so you know when you can unplug your flash disk.

  120. I don't underdstand... says:

    "Imagine you have a smart-card reader USB device that you use to authenticate you. You don’t want to have to disconnect that just so you know when you can unplug your flash disk."

    Perhaps there could be an option to mark a device as chronically unsafe to remove (Or maybe the OS could try to automatically detect it).

    But I don’t get why is the card reader chronically unsafe to remove in the first place?

  121. chrismcb says:

    This discussion interesting for a couple of reasons. I am amazed at the number of people who talk about the left click menu. Notification icons are supposed to "Display a simple interface item targetting the casual user" It doesn’t necessarily have to be a menu. Just happens in the case of removing devices a menu is the easiest thing to do. What is the alternative? bring up a modal dialog box with a list where you select then click ok?

    The other interesting thing is the number of people that say it isn’t intuitive, and didn’t know you can do it. I am actually curious about this.

    You have a strip of pictures (lets call them ICONS).

    First one is labeled START, or has the windows logo. Left single clicking brings up a menu.

    If you are like me you have some Quick Launch icons. Left single clicking these launches an application. You might have a cheveron, left single clicking brings up a menu.

    Followed by a bunch if icons (and possibly text) that represent applications you have running. Left single clicking either brings that application to the foreground, or pops up a menu.

    You might have another chevron. Left single clicking expands the notification area.

    You have a few more pictures (the notification icos) They live in a strip where single clicking EVERY OTHER PICTURE does something. Why would you automatically thing, oh these are special, so I single click does nothing on them?

    I am trying to be serious here. I happen to be a UI designer, and it really boggles my mind how many people said they don’t expect single click here to do something. "merging" the two menus isn’t the answer. You can’t "merge" the audio left click ui with a menu.

    And what do you do when your icon doesn’t really have a simple interface. Many people chose to do nothing, or pop up the same menu as right click.

    Is the take away from this conversation that people expect single click to select something, unless it is a menu? But then what does it mean to select a notification icon?

  122. waleri says:

    >>> Imagine you have a smart-card reader USB device that you use to authenticate you.

    Such device doesn’t have to be marked as “always busy” – its not that I’ll remove it anyway. Actually the devices that should be unmounted are those, working in read/*write* mode, while devices that never actually stores anything work in read-only mode and can be safely unplugged at all time.

    True, if you unplug your smart-card something *will* fail eventually, but this is because you removed the wrong device at the wrong time.

    From user point of view, you remove a device when you no longer need it. From OS point of view, device should be removed when it is safe to do so – data flushed, etc.  Now I do know that I no longer need that smart-card, all I need to know *when* its safe to be removed from OS point view, which in case of a read-only device is anytime.

    [Some companies are set up so that when you remove your smart-card, you are forcibly logged off. Other chronically busy devices: A printer (printing a big job), a mouse, a network adapter, a CD-R (busy burning or with a file open), speakers. -Raymond]
  123. DWalker says:

    Obviously, you left-click on the "Start" button because it’s near the left side of the monitor.

    You right-click on the "notification area" icons because they are near the right side of the monitor.  Makes sense!  

    :-)

  124. dangerOp says:

    Like many other commenters, I agree that many poeple are conditioned to use a right-click as a context menu, so they don’t even think of trying a left-click.  This post actually shocked me (I too griped a lot about removing my thumb drive using that long procedure).  I would use Windows-E to bring up an explorer window, and left-click to select my thumb drive, then right-click to choose "safely remove" – I thought that was the fastest possible.

    After trying it out, I couldn’t help but notice that the right-click context menu brings up one menu item ("safely remove hardware"), and the left-click simple menu brings up only one item ("safely remove blah blah").  Why not just combine them into one menu, and have both mouse buttons go to the same?  There’s too few menu items to run into the risk of confusing users, and I think this would help users do what they want to do.  A little useability testing should have brought this out.

  125. Ralph says:

    Rack up another nerd that did not know about this.

    My biggest gripe with this is that having an explorer open on the drive means you can’t, this normally results in me yanking it anyway instead of closing the explorer.

    Might be nice to have a way we can instruct the OS to force the drive to sync and unmount so you can remove it with an intact filesystem, even if applications are still writing to the drive. May result in application level corruption, but since 99.9% of the time USB drives are only used for copying files, it shouldn’t crop up much.

  126. HagenP says:

    Suggestion: For MSDs, add the currently

    mapped drive names to the device names

    displayed in the "Safely remove hardware"

    dialogue.

    This would benefit both user groups.

    [Try left-clicking. -Raymond]

    Of course, Raymond. I do this regularly for years (after I figured out this usability jewel).

    Nevertheless, IMHO the "advanced" right-click interface would benefit from also displaying the mapped drive names (where applicable) in its main window.

    Instead, in order to check which drive you are about to remove, it forces you to klick through to yet another view, where it lists three devices for a single SD card.

    Is this good usability? Choose your answer wisely. :-)

  127. DWalker says:

    As John said, left-clicking a notification area icon in the Windows 7 release candidate gives a better "user experience" — the half-second delay is gone.

  128. GregM says:

    "After trying it out, I couldn’t help but notice … the left-click simple menu brings up only one item ("safely remove blah blah")."

    The left-click simple menu has one item for every device that you can safely remove.  If you have multiple devices, you will have more than one menu item.

  129. ulric says:

    @chrismcb  

    The Start menu, and the task bar applications,

    looks like a button you can push, with a bevel.

    The quicklaunch buttons do not have a bevel, but they have a visual feedback when the mouse hovers on top of them, to indicate they can be left-clicked.

    The status icons have neither.  There isn’t even a change in mouse cursor.

    I am trying to be serious here. I happen to be a UI designer,

    The visual design of status area in Vista is broken, there is no reason for anyone to think it should be left-click, it looks and behave completely like a static display

  130. DK says:

    I didn’t find out about left-clicking the device removal notification icon until several months of using it. When I visited my brother and use left click to do it, I was surprised that he didn’t know about it. This is someone who know lots of keyboard shortcuts in Windows.

    I think the reason why my brother and I didn’t try left-clicking was because of the common design of Windows where left-clicking icons is to open an application windows/a message box while right clicking is to open a small menu. We didn’t try left-clicking the icon because we wanted the icon to list devices that can be unmounted without opening a windows.

    But the device removal notifaction icon has it backward. You left click it, it’ll show a kind of menu that you normally get from rightclick stuff in Windows, but right clicking the icon show a useless menu with only one choice.

    A better design is to make it so that if you left click it, it’ll show the "Safely Remove Hardware" message box. If you right click it, it’ll show a menu listing all devices that can be removed plus the "Safely Remove Hardware" choice to open the "Safely Remove Hardware" message box. That’ll be more consistent with how icons work in Windows.

  131. old problem says:

    Same problem with floppydrives.

    Are this not solved YET? Is it possible to safely remove a floppy without disabling the write cache?

    Please fix this flaw.

  132. Chris says:

    There are many things which still confuse me regarding device removal.

    Like why when using remote desktop does a UAC prompt come up if I want to eject my external HDD?  

    Or, how do "eject" and "safely remove" differ?  

    Or why doesn’t the left-click menu show the volume name with the drive letter.  I’m one of those people who likes to names things.  Instead of, "it’s on drive H", I say, "It’s on Henry".  It’s much more straight forward to click "Remove Henry (G:)" than, "Remove USB Mass Storage Device – Drive(G:)".  Also, I think it’s quite cute that on my iMac I’m allowed to eject my physical DVD Burner even though you can’t remove it from the machine.

    One of the most irritating things about removing hardware when you want to is when Windows gives you that "nah nah… nah nah…" dialog.  You know, the that claims some program has a file open, so therefore you cannot remove the drive.  Why not provide a way to close those open files/locks and give me back my hardware back.

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