How to Eject a Flash Drive From a Chromebook

Learn to safely remove USB devices from your laptop

Just like with a regular laptop, there is a potential of corrupting your flash drive if you remove it from your Chromebook improperly. We'll show you how to eject a flash drive from your Chromebook safely.

Improperly Removing a Flash Drive from Chromebook

Whenever you insert a flash drive into your Chromebook, the operating system (ChromeOS) is constantly communicating with that device. If you remove the USB device and the OS happens to be in the middle of communicating with it, there's a strong potential that either part or all of the information on the disk could become corrupt and unusable.

A man working on a Chromebook at a table.
Pixabay

How to Eject an SD/Memory Card From a Chromebook

Ejecting a USB device from a Chromebook properly can save you from potentially having to recover data after (if) your flash drive gets corrupted.

  1. To view USB devices, like a flash drive, inserted attached to a Chromebook, select the Launcher icon at the lower left of your screen and select the Files icon to open the file explorer app.

    Screenshot of opening the Files app on Chromebook
  2. In the left navigation menu, you should see the device (like "SD Card") listed. If you drill down into this section, you'll see all of the contents of this device.

    Screenshot of browsing USB flash drive on Chromebook
  3. When you're ready to remove the thumb drive from your Chromebook, select the Eject icon to the right of the device name. Once you do this, you'll see the device disappear from the left navigation menu.

    Screenshot of selecting eject icon on Chromebook
  4. Now it's safe to remove the physical flash drive from your Chromebook.

How to Remove USB Thumb Drive From Chromebook

The process of removing a USB thumb drive is identical to the process above. The only difference is that the device name that appears in the left navigation menu will be slightly different.

Screenshot of USB thumb drive connected to Chromebook

To eject the thumb drive from your Chromebook, just select the Eject icon to the right of its name and it'll disappear. Once it's gone, you can safely remove the thumb drive from your Chromebook.

Any USB device you connect to your Chromebook that contains storage will display inside the Files app in the same way. Ejecting that device (and its storage) from your Chromebook is always the same, just select the eject icon and wait for the device to disappear.

The USB Device Still In Use Error

There are times when you may see an error that the USB device is "still in use" and the eject icon won't work. This can happen when a process is still communicating with the USB storage device and can't be stopped by the operating system.

If you wait a few minutes, attempt to eject again, and receive the same error, you'll need to shut down your Chromebook. Once the Chromebook is completely shut down, it's safe to remove the USB device without any danger of corruption or damage.