Properly Remove CDs or DVDs from Your PC - dummies

By Dan Gookin

If storage media is removed improperly, it can cause loss of data. Then you will have a major troubleshooting issue on your hands. To prevent that, familiarize yourself with the proper way to remove media before doing so.

The media is the thing that stores computer information; the drive is the thing that reads the media.

Windows has no problem recognizing new drives or media, but issues can occur when removing media — especially when the media is still being used.

To properly remove media from a drive, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Computer or My Computer window.

  2. Click to select the icon for the drive containing the media you want to remove.

  3. Click the Eject option:

    • In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, click the Eject button on the toolbar.

    • In Windows XP, choose the link Eject This Disk from the list of system tasks on the right side of the window.

    For an optical disc, the drive should eject the disc. For a media card, however, you manually remove the card from the reader.

  4. Close the Computer/My Computer window.

When the computer is still using the removable media, you’re warned; you cannot remove media that is being used, has unsaved files on it, or is somehow being accessed by the computer. This warning prevents the data stored on the media from being corrupted.

When you have trouble removing media, close any open applications. Then try ejecting the media again. If that fails, shut down the computer. You can safely remove any media when the computer is turned off.