Q&A: Removable storage still in use

Q I recently discovered that whenever I try to eject any removable storage, including cameras, CDs, DVDs, and memory sticks, immediately after they have been ejected I see a warning that an application might still be using the item, and am offered an option to force eject. After a repetition of this same warning, ejection succeeds. I have installed some gallery add-ons for Safari, including WOT: could they be at fault?

A Whilst this is most likely to be the result of something that you have installed recently, it is unlikely to be WOT, the Web of Trust browser tool that should not inspect removable storage media.

Restart your Mac in Safe mode, with the Shift key held down, then insert a CD or DVD and try ejecting that. If that works fine, without any of these warning dialogs, then it is likely to be non-Apple software to blame, perhaps one of those infernal cleaning or housekeeping tools which seem to sneak their way onto our Macs.

Restart in normal mode, and repeat the test with the same disk. If the warning re-appears, open Console straight away and look to see what has triggered the error. You may be able to remove or upgrade the offending component. However merely restarting in Safe mode, with the Shift key held down, can sometimes clear a system cache that is responsible for such spurious warnings.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 27 issue 4, 2011.