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Windows 7: Questions about MBR & GPT disks

03 Jun 2016   #21
Brds7t7

Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit, Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit, Windows 8.1 Pro 64-Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by alphaniner View Post
@Brds7t7
In the OS, you treat a hotswap drive like any removable storage: it needs to be safely removed.

The only caveat is that your SATA controller must be in AHCI mode (or RAID mode) for hotswap to work.
You must have posted that as I was writing so I missed it
Thanks, that's good to know. Very handy if swapping out internal drives regularly. At the moment I just use external USB3 docks.


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03 Jun 2016   #22
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Brds7t7 View Post
Thanks Layback,
I don't think I'd buy one at the moment anyway, but always nice to get some info for possible future use. I have a new build coming up in the next few months, just got a couple more components to buy, so any suggestions are always helpful.

Is there any risk of data loss when using these hotswap bays whilst the system is powered up? Or do they treat the HDD's similar to a removable drive?
alphaniner was close but no cigar. To be able to hot swap a drive, the port the hot swap bay is connected to does have to be set to AHCI but it also needs to be set to hot swap. AHCI alone doesn't make a port hot swappable. Not all ports that can be set to AHCI can be set to hot swap, in which case you would need to treat the drive as removable storage and eject it before removing it from the hot swap bay. Also, you would have to reboot the machine after inserting it in the hot swap bay.

If the port you have the hot swap bay connected to is set to AHCI and hot swap, then all you need to do is plug in the drive and the computer will recognize it (HDDs require a bit of spin up time). As long as the machine isn't writing to the drive, you can simply remove it from the hot swap bay without ejecting it first. It's perfectly safe to insert and remove drives as long as the port is set to AHCI and hot swap.

The exception to the above is if the drive being inserted or removed is a boot and/or program drive. In that case, the machine does have to be shut down before inserting or removing the drive.

I have two hot swap bays in my current desktop machine: one 3.5" and one 2.5". I mostly use the 3.5" bay for updating my backup HDDs but I have used the 2.5" bay for both HDDs and SSDs. I've never shut down the machine when inserting and removing drives and I've never had a problem doing so.

To answer an earlier question, a hot swap bay is basically a SATA drive bay you connect to the machine internally the same as any other SATA drive bay. The only difference is you can insert and remove the drives from within the machine.
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03 Jun 2016   #23
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

If your bios does not have a HotSwap mode I would suggest turning off the computer before installing or removing a HotSwap drive. Remember I'm paranoid and I don't want to damage my drive, motherboard, or data.

My main enjoyment of a HotSwap bay is the fact I don't have to move my tower and remove the side panels and all the external cables just to install or remove another drive.
Just plain simplicity of moving from one drive to another and when done, just removing the no longer needed drive.

Example:

When I make a Clone or Backup all I do is pop in another SSD and complete the job and then just as easy pop the SSD out and store it in a safe place.
No messing with cables, side panels, or motherboard connections.
I takes less than 10 seconds to add a SSD or about 30 seconds to add 3 SSD's to my system.

Of course one can have several drives mounted inside of the case and use them as needed but a huge problem can happen if their is a power surge, faulty power supply or user error, ect if the drives are always hooked up.

So the things that really count to me are:

1. Easy to install and remove drives.
2. Work fast because they are using Sata speed.
3. Once remove they are away from the damage that can be cause by a constant hook up to the computer if a problem arises.
4. The price is very reasonable for such advantages.
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03 Jun 2016   #24
alphaniner

Windows 7 Professional x64, Arch Linux
 
 

I've always used hot plug and hot swap interchangably. Maybe that's my mistake. The AHCI spec uses the term "hot plug", and it was a fundamental feature of the spec from the beginning; in contrast, the ability to configure on a port-by-port basis is comparatively new. I wouldn't be surprised if the main effect of enabling it just causes Windows to change default write caching setting.
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03 Jun 2016   #25
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
If your bios does not have a HotSwap mode I would suggest turning off the computer before installing or removing a HotSwap drive. Remember I'm paranoid and I don't want to damage my drive, motherboard, or data...
I would go a step further and say that you MUST turn off the computer before inserting or removing a drive in a hot swap bay if the BIOS does not have a Hot Swap mode.

Some ports may treat a drive as removable storage. In those cases, you can safely eject the drive the same as you would any other removable storage (such as USB drives) before removing the drive, then remove it without turning off the computer. Depending on the computer, you may be able to reinsert the drive without having to turn the computer off first.

Of course, if you are as cautious as our furry friend (and there is nothing wrong with being cautious!), it won't hurt to turn off the computer before removing or inserting drives into hot swap bays. It's just that my computer takes quite a while to boot up because of the HBA card, Marvel chips, and background programs on my machine, even with an SSD for the boot drive.
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03 Jun 2016   #26
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by alphaniner View Post
I've always used hot plug and hot swap interchangably. Maybe that's my mistake. The AHCI spec uses the term "hot plug", and it was a fundamental feature of the spec from the beginning; in contrast, the ability to configure on a port-by-port basis is comparatively new. I wouldn't be surprised if the main effect of enabling it just causes Windows to change default write caching setting.
Hot Plug and Hot Swap are the same thing but they aren't automatically a part of AHCI. A port can be AHCI and not be Hot Swap compatible. Hot Swap can be permanently turned on (and not turned off) in the BIOS when a port is set to AHCI but more frequently, it has to be set manually after enabling AHCI.
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03 Jun 2016   #27
alphaniner

Windows 7 Professional x64, Arch Linux
 
 

Are you certain of that? Everything I've ever read suggests that it's fundamental to AHCI. I could see it being disabled in f/w in special cases, but not for general purpose desktop or server boards.
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03 Jun 2016   #28
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by alphaniner View Post
Are you certain of that? Everything I've ever read suggests that it's fundamental to AHCI. I could see it being disabled in f/w in special cases, but not for general purpose desktop or server boards.
Yes, I am. On my P9X79 WS MOBO, for example, hot swap is available on only the SATA ports obtained from the CPU and the X79 Chipset. The two SATA ports from a Marvel chip do not have hot swap available. All ports do have AHCI, though.
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03 Jun 2016   #29
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
Example:

When I make a Clone or Backup all I do is pop in another SSD and complete the job and then just as easy pop the SSD out and store it in a safe place.
SSD connectors are far more fragile than 3.5" HDDs. I have Vantec and Thermaltake docking stations and the first time I ejected a Samsung SSD the plastic on the data connector broke and the SSD was useless. I've had no problems at all with ejecting the HDDs.
I think you are lucky to pop SSDs in and out without damage. Maybe the ejection mechanism on your hot swap unit is more gentle.
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04 Jun 2016   #30
ThrashZone

Win-7-Pro64bit 7-H-Prem-64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Brds7t7 View Post
Thanks Layback,
I don't think I'd buy one at the moment anyway, but always nice to get some info for possible future use. I have a new build coming up in the next few months, just got a couple more components to buy, so any suggestions are always helpful.

Is there any risk of data loss when using these hotswap bays whilst the system is powered up? Or do they treat the HDD's similar to a removable drive?
Hi,
Yea it sucks they hop the prices but that one is well built so it might be worth the costs
I do have 2 of them one on each system and it is the best item I ever bought

It's a easy swap not really a hot swap or at least that is how I use it
I too always shut down before removing....
There was a way to add hot swap abilities if the mobo doesn't support it but it was a pain for me to understand why it would be worth using when shut down does it easily
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