Problems with Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media


Windows users sometimes get too eager in trying to make their systems start up faster. One of the easiest ways to make Windows start up faster is to turn off unnecessary startup services. But we must be aware of potential complications. I learned this the hard way.

Turning Off Bluetooth Startup Service

If you go to Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools > System Configuration and click on the Startup tab, you will be able to disable or enable various startup items. Some of them really aren’t necessary and may serve to slow down Windows’ startup process.


Disable Bluetooth startup service

I opted to disable Adobe’s Updater services, KeePass’ startup service, and others. Among them the Bluetooth LE Services Control Program since I don’t even use Bluetooth on my computer. I simply unticked the checkbox next to the service and clicked Apply. Bad idea!

After I started up Windows the next time, I noticed that the Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media icon in the right corner of the Taskbar stopped working. I tried to click on it but there was no response. Normally, a link called Open Devices and Printers shows up followed by a list of devices that can be ejected.

I then tried to access the list of connected and removable devices via Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers, but nothing happened. The Devices and Printers link didn’t respond, although it seemed to be loading forever.


Devices and Printers loading

The next thing I tried was forcing the Safely Remove Hardware window to come up by opening up a Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt and running the following command:

Command Prompt trick fails

Command Prompt trick fails

Unfortunately, this trick didn’t work either. The window came up all right but when I tried to actually disconnect a USB hard drive, there was an error.

Clearly, Bluetooth had something to do with the problem.

So I returned to Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools > System Configuration, clicked on the Startup tab and enabled the Bluetooth service again by ticking in the checkbox to the left of the service, clicked Apply, restarted Windows, and started to investigate.

After a while I realized that Bluetooth is a hardware device. Therefore I cannot simply turn off its services without turning off the device itself, too.

The Solution

You can either choose not to mess around with Bluetooth and let it load even though you will never use it…

Or you have to shut Bluetooth down correctly. To do this, go to Control Panel > System and Security > Device Manager. In the Device Manager’s window double-click on Bluetooth Radios, right-click on your Bluetooth adapter and click Disable.


Disable Bluetooth adapter

Now you can go back to Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools > System Configuration and disable all Bluetooth services.

Click on the Services tab. Locate all Bluetooth services — there were four of them on my system — and disable them all by unticking their checkboxes.

Now click on the Startup tab and disable the Bluetooth service by unticking its checkbox, too. Click Apply and restart Windows for the changes to take effect.

After restart Bluetooth will be completely disabled and yet the Safely Remove Hardware function will be intact and working properly.

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