A new default setting with Windows 10 keeps external storage devices ready to be pulled “at any time,” according to Microsoft Windows support, as long as users aren’t actively saving files to it. (Akos Stiller/Bloomberg News)

Microsoft has long cautioned PC users to take great care when removing flash drives. Following the right steps, in the right order, is the only way to ensure your data’s safety, the company has said. There’s no need to worry about that anymore.

Windows 10 users can now unplug hardware such as USB drives without giving in to paranoia or dread. Dubbed “quick removal,” the new default setting keeps external storage devices ready to be pulled “at any time,” according to Microsoft Windows support, as long as users aren’t actively saving files to it.

That means computer users no longer have to follow the “safely remove hardware” process to know that they can safely remove their hardware.

Before the widespread use of smartphones and the proliferation of cloud storage services such as Google Drive and Dropbox, USB drives were an easy way to store digital files or transfer information between computers. The process was designed to ensure, for example, that a student who started writing his term paper at the school library doesn’t lose it while transferring it onto the thumb drive he’ll use to finish the work at home.

But thumb drives have lost some relevance now that text and other files can be synced among multiple devices or even simply live in your email.

As the Verge reported, the switch to make “quick removal” the default setting took place late last year, when version 1809 of Windows 10 was released. But Microsoft detailed the change last week amid a broader rollout of the update.

The company says it made the change to better meet the needs of its users. As of last month, more than 800 million devices were running on Windows 10.