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Hot Swappable

Friday, May 30th, 2008 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms
 
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Randy from Alpena, MI asks:

Can you please explain what hot swappable means?

In this day and age, it’s very important for computers and other electronic devices to be as user friendly as possible and with that, more and more devices are being made with hot swappable capabilities. Basically, a hot swappable device is one that can be added or removed from a computer without having to reboot. USB devices are probably the most well known for being hot swappable, but there are several others as well.

Let’s take a USB flash drive as an example. Most flash drives already have all the software they need built right in to them, so when you plug a flash drive into one of your USB ports, your computer is able to automatically recognize it as new hardware. In addition, you’re able to start working with the drive right away without having to download any software or drivers. All in all, if a device is able to begin functioning immediately after you plug it into your computer, it is considered to be hot swappable.

Like I said earlier, there are several hot swappable items on the market today. There are flash drives, printers, digital cameras, scanners, Webcams, microphones and many, many more. The hot swappable functionality is beneficial in that it allows you to work much faster without interruptions and with ease. I mean, if you had to restart your computer every time you wanted to use a new device, you’d be wasting a lot of time and you’d probably become very frustrated. I know I would!

You can also use most hot swappable devices on other computers. For instance, if you have more than one computer in your home, you can use your flash drive on both PCs without any trouble. All hot swappable devices work exactly the same in that no matter which computer you use, they will always work for you automatically. And if you really think about it, that saves you some money as well, because you don’t have to go out and buy new hardware for every computer you use. Many businesses use hot swappable items as well.

So, if you’re looking to buy a new flash drive or printer, etc., check it to make sure it is hot swappable. If you buy all of your hardware that way, you will save yourself a lot of time, money and frustration. And that just makes it all worthwhile, doesn’t it?!

~Erin

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