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Safely remove hardware icon missing from the taskbar? I will show you how to restore the safely remove hardware icon easily!

At random times for whatever reason, the “safely remove hardware icon” disappears from my taskbar. Some of us know that its not a good thing to just unplug our USB items without safely removing it via the “safely remove hardware icon” for various reasons.

If it is a mass storage USB device like flash memory or a hard disk, especially in an external enclosure, just pulling the plug could render the device unusable and data loss can follow if there is still some data still in a cache waiting to be written to the device when you just plug it out. By using the “safely remove hardware icon” it ensures that all caches are flushed and the device is in a sleep state and any tasks assigned to it is completed.

Another reason why you should use the “safely remove hardware icon” is that in a USB port, there is a current running through it to your connected device when its in use! So if you just pull out the USB device without the “safely remove hardware icon” the power shock caused by unplugging your device with a current running through it can corrupt it’s data! Using the “safely remove hardware icon” tells Windows to turn off the power to the USB device and then tells you that it is safe to remove the device.

Well lets get right to it with the instructions below. Please leave feedback if this has helped you, thanks 🙂


  1. Click Start > Run > and type in without the quotes: “RunDll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL hotplug.dll” ; Then click on OK.
  2. Now you should see the “Safely Remove Hardware” window pop up.
  3. Now you can choose the USB device from the list and safely remove it by selecting it and pressing stop. When Windows pops up a balloon saying “Safe To Remove Hardware” then you can remove the device. You will also notice that the “safely remove hardware icon” is now restored back in your taskbar.

You can also create a shortcut to run so that you don’t have to go do it the Start > Run way as shown above:

  1. Right click on your desktop and click on New > Shortcut. In the “Type The Location Of The Item” space, type in without the quotes: “RunDll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL hotplug.dll
  2. Then click Next, Now give it a name like “Start Safe Remove Hardware” and click on Finish.

Now when the “safely remove hardware icon” is missing again, simply run the shortcut and remove your USB device easily!

VIDEO TUTORIAL [Please View Fullscreen]


Troubleshooting, Windows


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