I have a SATA hard drive that says it supports hot-plugging. Does that mean I can actually connect it to power and a SATA plug while my computer is running? Would be handy, but seems kind of scary...

Hardware details:

  • Motherboard: Gigabyte, GA-MA790X-UD3P
  • Hard drive: Western Digital, WD10EADS-00L5B1

Or might have been a different hard drive I read was hotpluggable... either way I'm more curious about the theory of it all rather than my specific case :p

  • if you have more detail let me know and i'll edit answer Dec 11, 2010 at 21:51
  • I'm not sure it's something I'd try even if everything said it was OK.
    – ChrisF
    Dec 11, 2010 at 22:27
  • @ChrisF: That's what I'm thinking too :p
    – Svish
    Dec 11, 2010 at 22:59
  • There are three things for this to work correctly. (1) It must be supported by the drive, controller/mobo, and software (not everyone sticks to the full text of a standard). (2) Plug in the power to the drive before plugging in the data cable (may not be required, but it’s best to have the drive ready when the OS tries to read it—not an issue with SSDs, but still a good idea). (3) Configure the drive (Device Manager) for quick-removal instead of performance or(/and) use the Eject/Safely Remove function to flush the cache to avoid corruption (i.e., turn it into a flash drive).
    – Synetech
    Oct 12, 2012 at 20:15
  • 1
    If you're gonna be doing this often, a hotswap rack is a convenient way of doing it. I don't know if it connects/disconnects the power/data cables in a specific order, but they're designed specifically for this purpose and will prevent the connectors on the HDD from wearing out. Aug 10, 2013 at 4:08

4 Answers 4


As long as its not the OS drive you should be fine, since SATA is "hotswappable" though i have experienced corruptions of the FS once or twice. So i try to avoid it.

  • 12
    Do make sure you Safely Remove, however.
    – oKtosiTe
    Dec 11, 2010 at 23:37
  • I must say i dont remember, usually I only do this on my ubuntu machine and there I just "umount"
    – madmaze
    Dec 11, 2010 at 23:50
  • 13
    I think “safely remove” is the Windows expression for “unmount”. Dec 12, 2010 at 0:50
  • Sounds reasonable. Can't find the SATA drive in the Safely Remove thing though. Maybe have to look somewhere else.
    – Svish
    Dec 17, 2010 at 21:05
  • If it is hot-swappable, then even an OS drive shouldn’t be a problem; worst case scenario, just hit the reset button and the BIOS should detect it during POST.
    – Synetech
    Jun 19, 2011 at 0:28
  1. Open your run box, then type regedit and press Enter.

  2. Go to the following key:

  3. Find 'msahci', click on it and on the right pane, right click the 'start' property.

  4. Change the value to '0'.

  5. Restart your computer (important)! Now you can 'safely remove' your SATA internal hard drive like you do with external hard drives.

  • 13
    What does this do? Why is it necessary?
    – AnnanFay
    May 17, 2016 at 0:58
  • 2
    It can prevent corruption if a HDD is suddenly removed and Windows was writing to it etc.
    – Codingale
    Mar 14, 2018 at 7:44
  • Maybe I've "tweaked" my system in some way that interferes with this but this registry key was already 0 for me and I've never had the option to safely remove any internally connected drives.
    – nxasdf
    Dec 29, 2022 at 3:08
  • This is now storahci Mar 5 at 5:02

I just did it with a 2 TB SATA 6GB/s hard drive. I am going to try my 3 TB hard drive as soon as I'm done moving data. Just don't forget to initialize in the Disk Mangement window for Windows, then format to NTFS.

Note: I did not hot swap my OS drive as I see that as a bad idea


Yes you can do that. In order to do this, we need enable the hot plug capability in BIOS settings. If it is enabled, then we can add second HDD to computer while running. System will install the drivers instantly and the HDD would be ready for use like a USB drive.

  • I don't have hot plug in my bios
    – giorgio79
    Sep 27, 2020 at 18:40

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