When Display Says "Writing"

I put a new mp3 on my Clip this morning, & waited a minute or so to make sure the transfer was complete. But just before I unmounted the Clip, the display suddenly said “writing” even though the mp3 was already copied. So my question is, what was it actually doing, if no files are being transferred? I’ve seen it do this before, I’m just curious to know why…

For reasons like this, I try to always use the Safely remove hardware icon in the computer System tray–a good safety measure.

I don’t see that icon since I use Linux. However, a message will *sometimes* pop up when I unmount the Clip, telling me it’s safe to unplug it. So, exactly what is it doing when it says “writing”, but no files are being transferred? Could any problems arise if I unmount & unplug it at that moment? Seems to be working fine, so far…

@miikerman wrote:

For reasons like this, I try to always use the Safely remove hardware icon in the computer System tray–a good safety measure.

Sorry, Windows XP here and that’s why I disconnect as I do.

If you unmount the volume before unplugging the device (which you should ALWAYS do) you won’t have any problems.

The reason it sometimes says writing when you are not transferring a file has to do with how filesystems work.  When you copy something to the device, it may not be copied completely immediately.  Your computer will make guesses as to the quickest and most efficient method to copy over data.  In some instances, this will mean not copying the data in its entirety or not writing to the file system header until you unmount the volume as it is generally more efficient.  That is why you should ALWAYS unmount the device before unplugging it or you will risk losing your data or even corrupting the filesystem.

So even when you are not actively copying over music, the device may be having data copied to it.  Hence the device says it is writing.

Thanks for the explanation. I always do unmount before I unplug it… My initial question was if it’s safe to unmount the Clip while it says “writing”, but not transferring files. Judging from what you say, I assume it is?

@justinjstark wrote:
If you unmount the volume before unplugging the device (which you should ALWAYS do) you won’t have any problems.

The reason it sometimes says writing when you are not transferring a file has to do with how filesystems work.  When you copy something to the device, it may not be copied completely immediately.  Your computer will make guesses as to the quickest and most efficient method to copy over data.  In some instances, this will mean not copying the data in its entirety or not writing to the file system header until you unmount the volume as it is generally more efficient.  That is why you should ALWAYS unmount the device before unplugging it or you will risk losing your data or even corrupting the filesystem.

So even when you are not actively copying over music, the device may be having data copied to it.  Hence the device says it is writing.

If Linux is similar in operation to Windows, yes–writing means the transferring of data.

Message Edited by Miikerman on 02-20-2008 12:02 PM

I use Linux and get the same thing.  I assumed it was writing either filesystem stuff or writing the last bits of the mp3.

I think it’s safe to say it’s normal.

But is it safe to unmount the Clip at that moment, if you’re not copying mp3s?

@cydewaze wrote:
I use Linux and get the same thing.  I assumed it was writing either filesystem stuff or writing the last bits of the mp3.

I think it’s safe to say it’s normal.

I don’t believe so (again, if this is a Windows-like operation)–you may not be doing anything, but your computer is.  Hence, the message.

As long as the device is not mounted, you should be fine unplugging it.  It shouldn’t display “writing” when it is unmounted but I do not know the specifics about how the firmware in the clip operates.

To be on the safe side, always make sure the device is unmounted _and_ not writing when you unplug it.

In the Linux world it is safe to unmount when the device is writing. It is not safe to unplug the device if it is still mounted. Data can be buffered, and written when you do not expect it to be written.

In Linux, unmount
In Windows, Safely Remove Hardware

If it can go wrong it will.

Thanx, that’s reassuring. I definitely wouldn’t unplug it without unmounting first!

@tweet wrote:
In the Linux world it is safe to unmount when the device is writing. It is not safe to unplug the device if it is still mounted. Data can be buffered, and written when you do not expect it to be written.

In Linux, unmount
In Windows, Safely Remove Hardware

If it can go wrong it will.

Well, it happened… After charging it, I forgot to unmount before unplugging. It seems to be working ok, though. How do I know if it caused a problem?

Disable write caching from Device Manager and there should not be a problem with unplugging as soon as transfers are complete.

Sorry. Stupid question. What does it mean to mount or dismount vs. just unplugging the device.

Thank you in advance.