Almost all the devices designed to work with a Windows PC today come as plug-n-play devices. What this means is that you can just attach these devices in your PC while it is running and Windows will automatically recognize these devices and get them ready for your use. When you are done using these devices, you can detach them from your PC. But when it comes to storage devices like hard disks or USB disks, you have to be extra careful even if they are plug-n-play devices. Problem is that if you detach from your PC and Windows is still writing to them, then you might end up having missing files, corrupt files or a corrupt file system.
This is where the HotSwap utility can be of immense use. This utility works with many different types of devices that are not supported by the inbuilt Windows “Safely Remove Hardware” feature. For example, it can work with SATA, eSATA, USB to SATA adapter devices without any problem.
You can launch the HotSwap utility and it will stay in the notification area of Windows. Whenever you want to safely remove a device, you can click on the HotSwap’s system tray icon and choose that device from the list. HotSwap will flush all the data that Windows has in to-write cache to the disk, spin-down the hard disk, close all the file handles open on the target disk and then shows you a notification that the device can be removed safely.
By default, HotSwap lists only the fixed devices that can be removed. But you can easily choose the Device type from the system tray menu and choose other types of devices as well – removable disk drives, optical disk drives, non-hotswap devices and other safely removable devices. From the same menu, you can make the HotSwap utility spin-down a hard disk before making it ready for safe removal.
Conclusion: HotSwap is a useful tool that can help safely remove many different types of devices from a Windows PC. It supports more devices than the Windows’ own “Safely Remove Hardware” feature.
You can download HotSwap from http://mt-naka.com/hotswap/index_enu.htm.