Fix: Windows Can’t Stop Your Generic Volume Device

Some Windows users are getting the ‘Windows can’t stop your Generic Volume Device because a program is still using it’ error when trying to eject an external hard drive or a flash USB drive. Affected users are reporting that they tried to kill all processes and stop all services but the issue is still occurring. The issue is confirmed to occur on Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

Windows can’t stop your ‘Generic volume’ device because a program is still using it

What is causing the “Windows can’t stop your Generic Volume Device” error?

We investigated this particular issue by looking at various user reports and the repair strategies that affected users have been using to resolve this particular problem. Based on our investigations, there are several common scenarios that might end up triggering this particular error message:

  • The system is actively using the drive – A lot of processes can end up using the USB drive. Keep in mind that just by looking at the contents of the drive inside File Explorer might end up triggering this error message. In this case, the easiest fix is to simply end the explorer.exe process.
  • Windows is currently copying a big file from the disk – Another common reason that will trigger the error is if your operating system is in the middle of copying a file from the disk. In this case, waiting for the operation to complete is the best course of action.
  • Windows bug (conime.exe stuck on disk) – There’s a fairly popular Windows bug present on Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 where a process (conime.exe) will get stuck on the disk and might trigger this particular error. In this case, the simplest solution is to simply restart your computer.
  • Windows is over-indexing all files – If the drive is defined as indexed, your operating system might be furiously trying to index all files on your drive. If you have a lot of files on your drive, this process will take a while and you might see the error when trying to remove the drive.
  • The drive is not configured for Quick Removal – This particular issue might occur if the involved drive is not configured for quick removal. Some affected users have reported that the issue was no longer occurring after changing the Removal Policy.

If you’re currently struggling to resolve the  ‘Windows can’t stop your Generic Volume Device’ error, this article will provide you with a few troubleshooting guides. Down below, you’ll find a collection of methods that other users in a similar situation have used to get the issue resolved.

For the best results, follow the methods in the order that they are presented since they are ordered by efficiency and severity. One of them is bound to resolve the issue on your particular scenario.

Method 1: Ending the explorer.exe process

One quick fix that a lot of affected users have been using is to simply close the explorer.exe process. This is confirmed to work on Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

However, several affected users have reported that while the method has helped them circumvent the  ‘Windows can’t stop your Generic Volume Device’, the fix was only temporary and it returned the next time they tried to remove the USB-powered drive.

But if you’re looking for a quick way to resolve the error, here’s how to end the explorer.exe  process:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open up Task Manager.
  2. Inside Task Manager, go to the Processes tab and look for exporer.exe (Windows Explorer on Windows 10).
  3. Once you manage to locate the process, right-click on it and choose End task.
    Ending the explorer.exe task

    Note: Another alternative to this method is to do a system restart and perform the same operation that was triggering the error immediately after the initial system startup.

  4. Once the explorer.exe process has been ended, repeat the action that was previously triggering the error and see if the issue has been resolved.

If you’re still seeing the ‘Windows can’t stop your Generic Volume Device’ error or you’re looking for a more lasting fix, move down to the next method below.

Method 2: Configuring drive for quick removal 

If you’re encountering the issue on with a USB h, it’s very likely that the reason why you’re encountering this issue is that the drive that you’re encountering the issue with is not configured for quick removal. Fortunately, you can correct it to the default behavior by following a set of simple instructions.

Here’s what you need to do to configure your USB drive for quick removal:

  1. Open File Explorer (My computer on Windows 8.1 or older), right-click on the drive that is triggering the issue and choose Properties.
  2. Go to the Hardware tab, select the drive you’re targeting from the All disk drives list and choose Properties.
  3. In the Properties window of your USB drive, go to the General tab and click on Change settings.
  4. Inside the Properties menu of your USB device, go to the Policies tab and select Quick removal under Removal Policy.
  5. Click Ok and restart your computer to enforce the changes.
  6. At the next startup, repeat the action that was previously triggering the issue and see if the error is still popping up.
Configuring USB hard drive for quick removal

If you’re still encountering the ‘Windows can’t stop your Generic Volume Device’ error, move down to the next method below.

Method 3: Configuring the USB drive to function ‘Offline’

Some users have managed to resolve the issue by using the Disk Management utility to configure the USB-powered drive to function in Offline mode. Forcing your drive in offline mode will likely kill any link that might be triggering the ‘Windows can’t stop your Generic Volume Device’ error.

Here’s a quick guide on configuring the USB drive to function in Offline mode:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Then, type “diskmgmt.msc” and press Enter to open up the Disk Management utility. If prompted by the UAC (User Account Control).
    Run dialog: diskmgmt.msc
    Run dialog: diskmgmt.msc
  2. Inside the Disk Management utility, right-click on your USB device that is triggering the issue and choose Offline.
    Forcing the drive to run in Offline mode
  3. Recreate the same operation that was previously triggering the ‘Windows can’t stop your Generic Volume Device’ error and see if the issue has been resolved.

If you’re still encountering the same error message, move down to the next method below.

Method 4: Changing the Drive letter

As it turns out, this particular issue can also be fixed by using a simple trick to simply change the affected drive letter. This will not even condition you to keep using a different letter since you can change it right back and the ‘Windows can’t stop your Generic Volume Device’ error will not reoccur.

This fix is effective because when you change the drive letter, you’ll also disconnect the drive from all processes that are currently using it. After this process is complete, you will be able to unmount the drive the usual way.

Here’s a quick guide on how to  change the drive letter:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Then, type “diskmgmt.msc” and press Enter to open up  Disk Management. When prompted by the UAC (User Account Control), click Yes to grant administrative privileges.
    Run dialog: diskmgmt.msc
  2. Inside the Disk Management utility, move down to the first menu and locate the drive that is causing the issue. Then, right-click on it and choose Change Drive Letter and Paths.

    Accessing the Change Letter and Paths menu
  3. From the Change Drive Letter and Paths menu, click on Change. Then, enable the toggle associated with Assign the following drive letter and select a different letter from the list. Click Ok to save the changes.
    Assigning a different letter to the affected drive
  4. You will get a warning message. When you see it, click Yes to confirm.|
    Accepting the warning prompt
  5. After the modifications are complete, restart your computer and see if the issue has been resolved. If it is, you can revert to the previous drive letter by reverse-engineering the steps above.

If this method wasn’t effective and you’re still encountering the  ‘Windows can’t stop your Generic Volume Device’ error, move down to the next method below.

Method 5: Changing the file system to FAT32

Some users have managed to resolve the issue simply by changing the file system to FAT32. Even though most affected users have reported that the ‘Windows can’t stop your Generic Volume Device’ error was no longer occurring with FAT32, you will be unable to copy files over 4GB.

If that’s not a big issue for you, here’s a quick guide on how to change the file system to FAT32:

  1. Open File Explorer (My Computer), right-click on the drive that is showing the error message and choose Format.
    Formatting a USB-powered drive
  2. Inside the Format menu, set the File System to FAT32 using the drop-down menu below.
    Formatting a drive to FAT32

    Note: If you’re in a hurry, it’s best to check the Quick Format checkbox under Format options. This ensures that the process won’t take more than 10 minutes.

  3. Once the process is complete, restart your computer and see if the issue is resolved at the next startup.
Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

Expert Tip

Fix: Windows Can’t Stop Your Generic Volume Device

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