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Let's say I did these things:

  • I plugged an external hard drive to a laptop
  • With it plugged, I open and work on documents stored in the external hard drive
  • Then I hibernate the laptop with the external hard drive still intact/still plugged into the laptop
  • Hence (I presume) the hiberfil.sys records the documents that is still being opened

Then what if I unplug the external hard drive, plug it into another laptop, what will happen to both the hard drive and the documents that was being opened if I do the following actions from the another laptop?

  • Open the said documents and make changes to it
  • Create new documents in the external hard drive
  • Delete some documents in the external hard drive

Will it damage the hard drive or the documents in any way?

I hope my English is understandable. Thank you for the answers. :)

share|improve this question
Unless you saved the changes before you placed the laptop in hibernate mode, then those changes would not be saved. If the computer is in hibernate mode then the external drive can be removed. As long as a drive is not being accessed the file system will remain intact. The hibernation file isn't stored on the external drive. – Ramhound Jun 25 '13 at 15:23
@AaronMiller: Not quite a duplicate, since the linked question discusses moving the system's internal hard drive after hibernation and accessing it through an external enclosure on another computer. This question involves only an external hard drive. – bwDraco Jun 25 '13 at 16:58
@AaronMiller: as DragonLord have said, it's a different question. I was also the person asking the linked question, so I'm quite sure it's different. :) – deathlock Jun 26 '13 at 2:13
up vote 1 down vote accepted

That certainly will not damage the hard drive.

As far as your documents are concerned: they were stored in the current session (in RAM), so it will not matter if the files on the disk have changed- the hiberfile will still have a copy of the files as you left them.

If you wish, you can save them to the hard disk (or not, if you prefer to keep the version you put on the hard disk when it was removed).

Boot it up with the disk, and you will see everything the same as you left it. The only time you would have anything to worry about is if you deleted or corrupted the hiberfile, which didn't happen this time by the sounds of it.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the answer! Regarding the deleted or corrupted hiberfil.sys, just in case if I did mess up with that, would the external hard drive be damaged or it would only damage the document? – deathlock Jun 26 '13 at 2:12
Nothing would physically be damaged- the worst that could happen would be minor problems until your next reboot (when a new session starts). – Austin ''Danger'' Powers Jun 26 '13 at 2:29

It's a bad idea. The OS and applications do not expect the file system to be modified while the system is "live". Most Linux distributions won't let you mount a partition with a hibernated Windows instance on it (or, if they do, they strongly recommend you do it read-only).

The main reason to avoid this is that many applications (and OS components) don't load the entire file into memory when they're using it, so if the file is modified in this way, the state on disk could easily become inconsistent with what the application expects, resulting in corrupted files. (Most database-like applications work this way, as well as most applications that deal with large files.) This isn't the only way it could cause problems.

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Thnkas for the answer! So to make sure it's safe, would it be better if I delete the hiberfil.sys? – deathlock Jun 26 '13 at 2:10
I'll chime in here with my 2 cents as well: whether you choose to keep or delete that hiberfile, everything will work fine and you have nothing to worry about. Try it- you'll see. Hiberfiles get corrupted all the time (I used to use hibernate religiously until I realised how many problems it can cause) and had to delete a corrupted hiberfile once a month or so with large Windows sessions it couldn't restore properly- nothing bad ever happened to OS files or data integrity. – Austin ''Danger'' Powers Jun 26 '13 at 2:38

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