Problem: In Windows 7 "Safely remove hardware" works very slow.
I found out reading the forums that this might be because every time you click on the icon to remove an USB device, it loads the data about the devices in "Devices and Printers" which process is very slow. So if you have "Devices and Printers" open BEFORE you click on safely remove icon, the menu (what to remove) appears instantly. Sadly this is not a real solution to have this open all the time. I didn't find any fix to this, but there is a very good alternative if you want safely remove your devices in almost the same way - it's a programm called "HotSwap!" - definetly worth a try!