Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Create a Safely Remove Hardware shortcut

Here’s a tip I gleamed from today’s Windows Secrets newsletter. You may well be familiar with the ‘Safely Remove Hardware’ icon which appears in your notification area (or ‘system tray’ if you must) when you plug in a removable hard drive or camera (or whatever). You may also notice that the icon sometimes isn’t there – and this is a problem which my parents’ computer randomly suffers from – which means it’s difficult to safely disconnect removable devices. The answer: a desktop shortcut.

Right-click on the desktop, select ‘New’ and then ‘Shortcut’. For the item location, copy and paste the following:

RunDll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL HotPlug.dll

Then click ‘Next’. Call the shortcut ‘Safely Remove Hardware’, and you should be done. If you want to make it look snazzier, right-click the icon, choose ‘Properties’ and then the ‘Shortcut’ tab, click on ‘Change Icon’ and in the ‘Look for icons’ box type:


The first icon in this file matches the ‘Safely Remove Hardware’ icon so you’ll be able to recognise it more easily.

Now, if the normal notification icon doesn’t appear, all you need do is double-click your new desktop icon to safely remove any disks before unplugging them.


  1. Well, that makes my life alot easier. 😀

  2. IMO the whole safely remove hardware is a bafflingly implemented featurette. It should only apply to devices which store data between it at the computer, and by that i mean it mounts a filesystem.
    And yet i’ve had windows stick all manor of completely irrelevant devices in there, even a usb->midi interface (for a musical keyboard). Eejits.

  3. Oooh, dunno if it’s safari or what but I kept getting a timeout on speakup.cgi. Hence the multiple submits 🙁

  4. Yeah the server’s been acting up lately, lots of stuff I do with MT times out. 🙁

  5. Thanks a lot. I have been finding the icon for a while. 🙂

  6. Excellent post helped us out of a pickle this afternoon.
    Thank you.
    Philip Elder
    MPECS Inc.

  7. I was just wondering about the possibility of activating the stop code and possibly the device selection through command line parameters, anyone got any idea’s?

  8. Hey, Great tip!

  9. Hi Neil! Thanks, is there any way to make the mouseover action the same as it were in the system tray? just wondering thanks! Cos i’m trying to load that into the objectdock and usually i don’t double click the icon to eject, i mouse over then select the drive i want to eject, shorter step…cheers!

  10. I have the opposite problem. After having used the ‘safely remove hardware’ icon, the drives F-J of my built-in card reader disappear, and I can only get them back by restarting the computer. Is there a simple way to turn this USB port back on?

  11. Hello,
    I already did all these and now I have the Safely remove icon but when I do double click look like if I don’t have any devices connect.
    I tried it with different UBS as photo camera and mp3 player and it doesn’t work.
    Someone know what can I do? Some advice please.

  12. Cool tip men,
    I’m looking it for weeks 😉

  13. Genius!
    Thanks very much! 🙂

  14. Hey Neil, that’s a really good tip! thank you.

  15. Thanx
    for good suggestion for solving problem

  16. Any luck on this one Lester?

  17. Does anyone have a fix for this?
    I installed a new external HDD (Western Digital MyBook), but it doesn’t show up on the Safely Remove Hardware” list when I click the logo.

  18. That is the best description of the solution to this problem I have seen so far. Thank you.

  19. Thanks much!

  20. Thanks Neil, for the excellent tip and write up, worked like a charm!

  21. Nice one Neil. I’ve alawasy hated the fiddliness of safely remove hardware. Now I’ve got a cool looking icon on my rocketdock which makes it a little easier.
    Still I’m surprised that there doesn’t seem to be any little programs out there to make the whole process a little more streamlined.

  22. Reaaalllly a L I F E S A V E R!!! Man, I can’t thank you enough for this excellent tip. On my laptop, I have this frequent problem that this particular icon just disappears like “POOF !!”
    Thanks a ton, man!! Now I need never worry about where that dashed icon has gone from the taskbar, I can use the one on the desktop of my laptop instead !!

  23. thank you so much!! =]]

  24. Thank you for posting this in such a clean and easy to follow format. I’ve bookmarked this page because I’ve found that I end up having to Google this topic every time I reinstall my machine since I forget the fix. 😉

  25. Thanks! i’ve been wanting an easy button for ‘Safely remove hardware’ for a long time this works great.