I am only asking about hardware damage, not data loss. When can I be sure the heads are parked anyway? My external HDDs are all set for quick removal, so there is no cache to concern me. I don't want to bother with the Windows eject utility as it doesn't work reliably. I pull out the USB plug and then switch off the power. Will this damage the hardware? 1 - if I can successfully 'eject' the device in Windows the drive's light may stay on. Are the heads parked anyway? Can I power it off safely though the light is on? 2 - if I just pull out the USB plug without 'ejecting' first the drive's light goes off. Can I be sure the heads are now parked?