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Anyone have any idea how I even begin to track down what the phantom program that is 'using' my USB stick is? How should I know which of the 76 generically named processes on my PC "might" be using the device?

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Comment by Arian

If you haven't found a solution yet, I love Unlocker (http://ccollomb.free.fr/unlocker/). It's free and full-featured. Definitely worth the download. I agree that Windows could do a much better job. My biggest pet peeve is when it's system tools themselves with the locks, yet Windows doesn't realize it!

Comment by Mark H

thanks Arian, I'll give that a try