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We need to hot swap a SATA HD on a server machine with defective BIOS. Thus, we don't want to reboot. OS is Debian Linux. Is it possible for Debian to recognize the new HD without BIOS intervention? We're trying to figure out the best strategy.

I guess a second question might be: is it advisable to connect and reconnect the SATA cables (2 separate cables) while the machine is running? We don't have a caddy or rack.

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    If the drives are "hot swapable" the OS should recognize the new one perfectly. Unfortunately that feature, if available, depends on the corresponding setting in the firmware (BIOS or UEFI). But you can try: As long as the drive to be removed is unmounted there should be no problem disconnecting it. Whether or not the new drive is recognized remains to be seen. – ChanganAuto May 9 at 21:15
  • @ChangeAuto I doubt that it requires any support from drive itself. AFAIK SATA drive is inheritly hot pluggable. – Tom Yan May 10 at 6:35
  • Physically it should be fine btw. I used to do that a lot at workplace. – Tom Yan May 10 at 6:38
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There's a per-port option in the UEFI settings of the motherboard I last used:

enter image description here

See if yours have one similar/equivalent. Make sure you are not using the the IDE/PATA/legacy/compatibility mode for the SATA controller.

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  • Btw I faintly remember the option can be known as eSATA support or something like that on some motherboard / UEFI firmwares. – Tom Yan May 10 at 6:37

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