swapping hard disks

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I use a separate hard disk when my son uses my laptop (he didn't bring
his own with him), as I don't want to catch his viruses, him to mess up
my work, install godknowswhat on my machine, etc.
It takes only a few seconds to change the disk, once the computer is
powered down.
But I've just found out that my son doesn't always bother to power it
down. A couple of times he changed the disks while it was in hibernation
mode. And I suspect even on occasions when the machine was just in standby.

Can any harm come to my laptop through this? On one occasion I got the
famous blue screen for a few moments before the computer went through
the coming out of hibernation process.


Re: swapping hard disks

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yes...kick his butt and then tell him to get his own machine to screw up

Re: swapping hard disks

olfart wrote:
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He was travelling light when he came and is  only staying a week.
I can't complain too much, as I tend to get his computer hand-me-downs

Re: swapping hard disks

Salvador Freemanson typed on Tue, 15 Jul 2008 23:39:04 +0200:
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You are a smart man! And to add, they sell software so you can do the same
thing with one hard drive. Things like Go Back and EAZ-FIX comes to mind if
you ever want to go that route. Windows built in System Restore is like
these, but only protects systems files and doesn't help if you can't even

I am assuming you are using a spare hard drive tray for your laptop model.
When during so, one can swap out the hard drive in mere seconds (on most
modern laptops). I do this all of the time actually. But I do so only for
testing purposes only.

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Pulling a hard drive out under power isn't normally a good thing. Under
standby, well not quite that bad. As there is no writing to the hard drive
at this time. Swapping the hard drive under standby, you should be okay 99%
of the time anyway. But you are pushing it.

Under hibernation and the laptop is actually off. You should be perfectly
fine as long as the hardware doesn't change. Meaning the hardware you have
plugged into the laptop doesn't change, etc. And the hibernation mode writes
to the hard drive that is in the computer at the time. The other hard drive,
this doesn't matter at all. Only when that hard drive that was hibernated is
placed back in and booted.

Gateway Celeron M 370 (1.5GHZ)
MX6124 (laptop) w/2GB
Windows XP Home SP2 (120GB HD)
Intel(r) 910GML (64MB shared)

Re: swapping hard disks

It's not a good practice, but the hard drive should be off in either
Hibernate or Standby.

Salvador Freemanson wrote:
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** Posted from http://www.teranews.com **

Re: swapping hard disks

On Tue, 15 Jul 2008 23:05:05 -0400, Barry Watzman

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Changing a hardrive in Standby is NOT a good idea, as the computer is
on, with information in RAM.  If you swap the hard drive in Standby
state, it will be screwed up when starting up.  And, since it is on
technically, there could be potential for electrical damage to the

In Hibernation, XP writes all information in RAM to the hard drive,
then shuts down completely.  So it is safe to change the drive, start
the computer, shut it down again and swap back your drive.  It will
start up from the last hiberanted mode.  


Re: swapping hard disks


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I agree that changing the drive from Standby is bad, but I think
there is a good chance that the disks may be physically find
but the data is in an unknown state on both of the disks, which is
worse than having two disks that you immediately know are broken.

I wouldn't worry about the chance of electrical damage, although there
is some chance.

A bigger problem is that the data on the disk is in an unknown
state, so the removed disk may not have all of the data on it that
you think it does. (There is a good chance that the file system
meta-data will be consistent with NTFS, but their still can be
inconsistencies and files lost since they weren't closed.)

Another possibility is what happens to the disk that was inserted.
If the system doesn't boot when after the disks are switched
the inserted disk might get writes that were meant for the first disk.
(I would expect that the hardware would reboot in the original
poster's configuration, if one tried the same thing with switching
eSATA drives there could be problems if the disk switch didn't cause
an error that the operating system sees and therefore puts the
drive logically offline.)

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I do this with no problems that I am aware of. (In other words:
 hibernate, switch disks, boot, hibernate, switch disk back, boot.
 No problems found on either disk when looked at later.)
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Re: swapping hard disks

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Swapping the hard drive in hibernate mode is perfectly OK.  As far as the
hardware in the machine is concerned it is powered off.

Swapping in standby mode is a different matter.  Some parts of the laptop
are still powered though the hard drive isn't one of them.  The biggest risk
is some event causing the laptop to come out of standby while you are
removing the disc drive.

Parts should really only be swapped if the AC power is disconnected and the
battery removed.  Of course if you do this while the laptop is in standby
then the session is lost.

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