Missing “Safely Remove” in Ubuntu 12.10

Strange isn’t it?

There was a time when all you had to do was “Safely Remove” and see the progress bar dance for a few seconds — and you were golden.

Those were the days! Anyway it turns out unmount/eject/safely remove are all meant to do different things.

Yes we are talking about our near and dear external hard-disks. (think: WD, Segate, FreeAgent Blah Blah)


Now with Ubuntu 12.10, only “unmount” is available on “Nautilus”! Even “Thunar” is no good.

(*these are lets say pretty awesome “Windows Explorer” in the world of Linux)

Well people have even reported it [bug]. Please feel free to mark it “The Bug affects You”.



What do you mean “why”? Its a BUG. The beauty of opensource is that someone will fix it. Sit back and relax. Its not urgent anyway.

So why this post?

Well who would not want to make sure that their Hard Drive is doing well and not in an inconsistent state — unable to do the most important thing that they are supposed to do — SAVE DATA! You wouldn’t want a lossy storage. Anyway, the point is — to make sure that all the data was written to the harddisk before you unplugged it — you’d need to UNMOUNT it. You always should. And if there are more than one partitions on the Hard Drive then you need to unmount each and everyone separately (which was earlier taken care by “SAFELY REMOVE”).


Still the Harddisk keeps spinning. You can feel it. You can even hear it. And the LED would just keep glowing.

So until they fixed it, we have a work around.

Spin down the harddisk

I found answers to my queries here:

I created a quick shell script

echo "Unmounting disks..."
udisks --unmount /dev/sdb1
udisks --unmount /dev/sdb2

#udisks --unmount /dev/sdb3
#depending on the number of partitions you have on your drive edit above
#please make sure all the partitions are unmounted before you detach

echo "Spinning down!"
udisks --detach /dev/sdb
echo "All done!"

Execute it …

$ chmod u+x safelyremove.sh
$ ./safelyremove.sh
Unmounting disks...
Spinning down!
All done!

Or even better — Save it on Desktop

Just double click; “Run” and you are almost “GOLDEN” again!


Happy Hackin’

6 thoughts on “Missing “Safely Remove” in Ubuntu 12.10

  1. “Its a BUG. The beauty of opensource is that someone will fix it. Sit back and relax. Its not urgent anyway.”

    Actually, according to the bug report you linked, “Safely remove” was intentionally removed by Gnome because “eject” and “detach” functions were removed, also intentionally, from udisks2. (Why Gnome removed the option when udisks[1] still works fine is beyond me.) This also affects Unity because Unity just mirrors what Nautilus provides.

    While udisks[1] sticks around this will be just an inconvenience to me from having an extra step in detatching external drives, but I can see novice users yanking out their still-powered USB devices and still-spinning external hard drives because the vanilla OS gives them no other option. (Not that many devices will break because of this, but why tempt fate?)

    Since this was intentionally removed from udisks2 (and thus is trickling down from there), if you want this functionality back — and maybe have it at all in the long term — rather than relaxing, you may have to step up and make some noise.

    (Now, if I can just find the best place to complain…)

    • Whoa! That’s a nice note. Really nice!
      Maybe you are right! Maybe its time to move on. Move away from our dear old Ubuntu? (but is that going to help?)
      I installed Slackware yesterday (as I promised myself a few years back)! I feel good for some reason.
      Yes I think we should get to the bottom of this.
      Thanks William. Have a good one.

  2. ooooooh thats why ive lost data and cannot properly figure out why none of my usb devices are syncing properly or any other function that has been standard in windoze for 10 years…..

    good job you wrote a script…. better leave it at that….wouldnt want to help any of those dumb old ladies with hard drives full of pictures of the grand kids….because we all know shes goona find this and turn into a terminal pro….

    i have been suffering with this for a while and found you via a google search… i showed the script to my wife and she asked if it was 1990……

    no wonder why linux hasnt taken off…. your still carving the wings out of stone

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s