So, I plug my USB flash drive into my computer and load some data to take with me. I look down to the bottom right of my screen and … where’s the icon gone?

I look through the menus and control panels and cannot find an entry for it. Next step, I check to see if the drive has an ‘Eject’ option. It doesn’t. Only two things I can do – pull the drive and hope it’s all written, or shutdown the PC and pull it out then. Since I was short on time, I yanked the USB drive and everything went OK – but where did that icon go?

Rebooting did not resolve the issue. I searched Google and there wasn’t too much help there at all – although I did find numerous sites with the following tip:

Create a new shortcut on your desktop – right click and slide down to “New” then click on “Shortcut”.

Copy this “%windir%\system32\RunDll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL hotplug.dll” (excluding the quotes) and paste it in the field that comes up in the next dialog box, under where it says “Type the location of the item:”, then click “Next >”.

The screen that follows prompts you to give the shortcut a name and is already pre-filled with “rundll32.exe” which is not helpful at all. Name it something obvious, such as “Safely Remove Hardare” and click “Finish”.

Double clicking the shortcut should launch the Safetly Remove Hardware window with your list of devices.

A nice touch is to edit the shortcut’s properties and change the icon to the usual one by using the icon browser. The icon can be found in “c:\windows\system32\hotplug.dll”.