Hot Plugging – Hot Swapping

Hot plugging (also called hot swapping) is the ability to add and remove devices to a computer system while the computer is running and have the operating system automatically recognize the change.

This is useful when a system component fails as it enables a new device to be installed without system downtime. Two external bus standards — Universal Serial Bus (USB ) and IEEE 1394 — support hot plugging. This is also a feature of PCMCIA.

Hot Plug Versus Hot Swap

While the terms hot plugging and swapping are used interchangeably, hot-pluggable devices typically require administrative tasks to complete the switch (i.e. mounting the hard drive after the new drive has been installed). Hot-swappable devices do not require any additional tasks to install, such as swapping a power supply in the system.

Webopedia Staff
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