Don't move system files onto removable media

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I like to break things—not maliciously, but because I’m a klutz. I don’t know how many times I’ve broken a glass that I had previously jammed into the dishwasher by pulling on it too hard—you can imagine the mess I have to clean up after such occurrences.

Windows-based networks easy to break too—see my article Add This to Your “Don't Do” List for five things you might think would make your network more secure but are more likely to break them. And if you’re not careful, your system (or possibly your whole network) will end up in an unsupportable state, and then you’re in big trouble—the “flatten and rebuild” type of trouble.

Here’s yet another way you can break Windows. A colleague tried to improve the performance of his laptop by moving the catalog file for the Indexing service to a removable USB drive. Everything worked fine until he unplugged the drive. Now when he tries to create or move a folder, it takes much longer than before. The workaround he eventually discovered was to disable the Indexing service before removing the USB drive, but you can imagine his frustration until he found this workaround.

What’s the lesson here? Moving system files to a removable device and then removing the device is not a supported scenario. So don’t do it—there might not be a workaround next time.

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