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  1. #1
    Member bk T's Avatar
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    Default SATA HDD hot-swappable?

    Is it safe to connect and disconnect a SATA HDD when the PC is still 'ON'?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: SATA HDD hot-swappable?

    I think you need drivers / a program (and an OS), that support it, so no if you didnt install drivers / a program. The mobo may have to support it as well

  3. #3

    Default Re: SATA HDD hot-swappable?

    Sort of, you can remove the disk from device manager (uninstall) then unplug it, but there is no garuntee that your PC won't crash, also when connecting, the disk may not detect when you run the "detect new hardware" wizard.

  4. #4
    Gone Erayd's Avatar
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    Default Re: SATA HDD hot-swappable?

    Quote Originally Posted by bk T View Post
    Is it safe to connect and disconnect a SATA HDD when the PC is still 'ON'?
    You can safely hotswap SATA drives *provided* they're running in native mode (i.e. you're not using any kind of IDE emulation etc, which many BIOS configs do out of the box), and your OS has safely unmounted them and flushed the cache.

    You do not require any kind of specialist program to hotswap SATA disks, although they can sometimes make your life a bit easier by managing mounting etc.
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  5. #5
    Computer Technician wainuitech's Avatar
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    Default Re: SATA HDD hot-swappable?

    Completely yes -- you can hot swap drives if its set up correctly.

    My sons New PC has a Antec Two Hundred Case, it has a front Drive Bay designed for this purpose.

    As per This review. looking inside the case you can see the connections.

    The only stipulation it makes in the instructions on setting up the case is that the OS MUST have been installed originally with the BIOS setting set to AHCI for the HDD's-- this allows hot swap As described here

  6. #6
    ember BBCmicro's Avatar
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    Default Re: SATA HDD hot-swappable?

    On my previous computer running XPpro32 I often turned the power off on eSATA discs and never had a problem. I had thought that a fairly modern MB (GA-P35c-DS3r) with eSATA would let me 'safely eject', but no. I didn't have AHCI turned on because it required a re-instal.

    The only thing I did was check for disc activity in Process Explorer first. (There was always lsass.) I turned the power off on the eSATA caddy. before physically ejecting the disc hoping that a capacitor in the circuitry would hold the power up long enough to terminate any data process. Probably wishful thinking...
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  7. #7
    amateur expert dugimodo's Avatar
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    Default Re: SATA HDD hot-swappable?

    mostly covered but to add my 2 cents, Yes SATA was designed as a hot swappable standard and yes to take advantage of it you need to be using AHCI mode.

    In my experience if I add a sata drive to a running PC using AHCI it will show up in the safely remove list and allow me to remove it, but if I boot up with it conected it will not.

    Simply removing a SATA drive or turning it off without using some sort of safely remove tool runs the risk of corrupting data on the drive.

    You may be able to disable disk caching for the drive in question which would make it safe but also slow down performance, however this may also require AHCI.

    Changing to AHCI on a boot disk will prevent widows from starting, there are ways around this however. My MB has a Jmicron controller so I moved the boot drive to that, enabled AHCI on the other (chipset) controller, and away I go. If you cant do this you need to trick windows into installing the driver for AHCI which is harder.
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