Windows System Process locking External HDD.

I have a Seagate Freeagent Desktop 750GB External HDD connected via USB port. When i connect the device to Windows, it is immediately locked by a system process that i cannot shutdown. I ran some sysinternals tools and found the culprit.

C:\>handle H:\

Handle v3.2
Copyright (C) 1997-2006 Mark Russinovich
Sysinternals -

System pid: 4 1C8:
System pid: 4 270:
System pid: 4 27C:
System pid: 4 288: H:\$Extend\$RmMetadata\$Txf

I am aware that these files are part of Transactional NTFS system which was present in Vista, im unsure if Win 7 has this same feature or an updated version.

I cannot delete these files since they are protected Operating System files, i cannot unlock the process locking them so how am i supposed to safely eject my external drive. I have another external drive, a small WD Passport which does not get locked by Windows in the same manner therefore i have concluded that these system files on my external are remnants of Vista (my previous OS). My WD passport was never connected to a computer running Vista.

Please do not tell me to format my drive because it's filled with data i cannot backup to an alternative right now. This is beyond infuriating, i have been trying to solve this issue on my own for days trying numerous methods.



Question Info

Last updated September 22, 2018 Views 22,803 Applies to:

Hi Unhallowed,


Follow the methods listed below:


Method 1:


Boot into System Recovery Options and try deleting the files from the external hard drive that are responsible for the issue.


Method 2:


Step 1:


Firstly, let’s boot into safe mode and verify if the issue recurs in safe mode.


Safe mode is a troubleshooting option for Windows that starts your computer in a limited state. Only the basic files and drivers necessary to run Windows are started. The words Safe Mode appear in the corners of your monitor to identify which Windows mode you're using.


For more information on how to boot into safe mode, see Advanced startup options (including safe mode)




If the issue does not occur in safe mode, the next of troubleshooting would be to boot the computer in a clean boot state and identify the problem causing third-party program.


Booting the computer in clean boot state helps in identifying if any third party applications or startup items are causing the issue. If yes, you may have to contact the program manufacturer for any updates or uninstall and re-install the program.


Refer the following Microsoft KB article for more information on how to troubleshoot a problem by performing a clean boot in Windows Vista or in Windows 7:


How to troubleshoot a problem by performing a clean boot in Windows Vista or in Windows 7


Note: After troubleshooting, make sure to put the computer to start as usual as mentioned in Step 7 in the above KB article.


Method 3:


Check for any firmware update for your Seagate FreeAgent Desktop USB Drive from the manufacturer’s website.


Also, make sure that you have installed the latest chipset drivers from manufacturer’s website.


For more information on updating drivers, see Update drivers: recommended links


Additionally, refer the following TechNet link for a discussion on similar issue:


Note: The above thread link may have third-party links. The third-party links are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.


Hope this information helps.

Gokul - Microsoft Support

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