Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Create a Quick Launch for USB "Safely Remove"

sr_icon We have all learned that before we pull that USB thumb drive out, it is really a good idea to first find that icon and click on “Safely Remove Hardware” and “stop” the device. Some of us discovered that necessity the hard way – with ruined drives.

Unfortunately, that icon is small, sometimes gets covered up, sort of visually “fades into” the background, and/or gets lost in the clutter of all our other System Tray icons. Out of sight, out of mind.. right?

To make it easier for me to remember to properly stop my USB devices, I create a Desktop icon, and set up a “hotkey” combination. I could also drag-and-drop a shortcut into my Quick Launch area, but I figure if I’m going to look down to the Taskbar, I may as well look by the clock.

Tip of the day: Create a shortcut to Safely Remove Hardware.
1) Right-click on a blank area of your Desktop, and select “New”, then “Shortcut”.
Now a ‘wizard’ will open. You are asked “What do you want to create a shortcut for?” (typing in “fantastic wealth” won’t help you here, sorry.)

2) Copy this string, and paste it into the space:

RunDll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL HotPlug.dll


Now click “Next”.

3) Rename the shortcut from “rundll32.exe” to something a little more descriptive. I went with “Safe USB”, but “Safely Remove USB” is a good one too.

shrtct_icon Click “Finish”. Now you have a new icon on your Desktop for quickly launching the safely remove tool. You are done.. But, I will also create a keyboard “hotkey” shortcut (optional).

4) [Optional] Create a “hotkey” shortcut.
a: Right-click on your new shortcut icon and select “Properties”.
b: On the “Shortcut” tab (should be open by default) create a “hotkey” by pressing Ctrl+Alt+key. I chose the “U” key for “unplug”, but you might want to choose the “R” (for “remove”) or something else you’ll remember.

c: Click “Apply”. You will note that your choice is now reflected in the “Shortcut key” window.
d: XP users can customize the icon.. and get rid of the plain icon, by clicking the “Change icon” button. (Vista users, read on…)

Now when I’m ready to pull out my thumb drive, I just Ctrl+Alt+U. And no more hunting by the clock.

Today’s free link: If you experience Windows Vista Service Pack 2 installation issues…

Today’s free download: If you would like to download some icons and customize Windows default icon set. is a neat source of free icon “packs”.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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June 10, 2009 - Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, System Tray, tech, thumb drives, tweaks, Vista, Windows, XP


  1. TechPaul,

    Thanks for the link back on the Vista SP2 install issues… From what I am seeing in my blog stats, I’m guessing many users are experiencing problems with the service pack install…

    Also, in reference to this article you have put together for us about safely removing our USB devices; another great piece…



    Comment by Ramblinrick | June 11, 2009 | Reply

    • Thank you, Rick.
      I have not had any issues w/Vista SP2, nor have I received any calls at Aplus for help… but it is inevitable that there will be people who do have trouble; and for those folks, it was a lot easier pasting in a link than typing up a whole article! You covered the bases like the pro that you are.


      Comment by techpaul | June 11, 2009 | Reply

  2. […] Create a Quick Launch for USB “Safely Remove” […]


    Pingback by Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#15) « What’s On My PC | June 17, 2009 | Reply

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