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In short: before unplugging a USB modem, should I take any action to make the removal safe?

I received a HUAWEI-367, it worked great the first day. The next morning the modem was very warm and had no internet connection. I tried to re-connect but it did not work, however it was blinking and Ubuntu did recognize I had a USB modem plugged. So I unplugged it and re-plugged it. However now it was as if the usb-device had died.

Ubuntu no longer recognized it and no modem-lights were showing. I also tried plugging it in on a Mac and nothing was mounted. It could be that the device was a faulty one and broke due to the heat. However I am afraid that it was me unplugging it without first somehow unloading the device properly which caused it to break (perhaps writing random data to the firmware or something). On the other hand, I previously had a different HUAWEI model which I frequently unplugged and replugged without any problems.

Now I would like to unplug my modem but I am not sure how to do it and I would not like to break another one.

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Your modem most likely had an electrical defect. There is certainly no firmware writing going on over usb unless you invoke specific software to do that. However, you might want to check the voltage on your usb ports. If it exceeds 5 V by much, your PC's power supply or some voltage regulator on your motherboard might be faulty.

Generally only hdds take unkindly to unpluggin as the buffer can not be written (dataloss) or the writehaed hits the disk resulting in scrates.

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