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I hibernated my Windows 7 desktop PC, replaced the SATA cables of my 2 hard drives (without paying attention to which ports they were connected), and resumed the system. Everything appeared normal and it entered the desktop with all the applications previously open before hibernation. However, after a few seconds, the screen became frozen and the system no longer responded to anything (mouse/keyboard/network ping).

Does anyone have a definitive answer on whether changing SATA ports of the HDDs during hibernation would crash a Windows 7 system?

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Try it and see what happens. ;-) Then you'll have your definitive answer. My guess is your system will be thoroughly hosed. –  Keith Feb 18 '11 at 5:15
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3 Answers

You have a giant Hooya Sir,

Each drive is addressed in BIOS by it' physical port, then windows uses those physical port addressees to locate drives and map them to a physical device numbers and then map that to a drive letter.

As soon as you re-arrange the drives you have changed the base BIOS maps to the deice, so as soon as windows asks a specific drive letter to do anything, that mapping which points to the drives previous position will fail and if the process using that space was critical, like a swap file, windows is done for.

The good news is rebooting normally should reset all the values and sort the issue out but any work in progress at the time of hibernation will likely be lost for good.

Just one question for you, why would you hibernate a PC then rearrange the drive cables?

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If a program has files open on a drive, and that drive suddenly is slipped out from beneath that program, it's going to have problems. The operating system itself always has files open on the drive it is installed from, thus you can certainly expect problems if the operating system's drive is suddenly removed or moved. There's no way the open files can automatically find what device they belong to if devices are being removed and added at different locations (that'd be an awesome feature for a future OS, however)

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Great concept! Maybe this is something OS's could make use of, heck this would make for spanktastic RAID controller protocol... –  Chris - Armor-IT Feb 21 '11 at 5:33
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Think hibernation as stopping the OS in time. Although from physical perspective, you shut down the power and restart it, from OS perspective it has just, in an instant, lost the location of the drive. Same reason really why you shouldn't install new internal hardware without shutting down the computer first.

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