You’ve probably seen the term “hot-swappable”—and to a lesser extend, “cold-swappable”—pop up if you’ve ever shopped for any digital storage devices. Here’s what that means.
At its most basic, hot-swappable means that you can plug in or remove a device without first shutting down your computer. USB drives are probably the first thing that spring to mind, and yes, they are hot-swappable. So are external hard drives. And the term doesn’t just apply to storage devices. Things like mice, keyboards, printers, and headphones are all considered hot-swappable.
Of course, while you can remove these devices from your computer while it’s still up and running, there’s still a lot of debate on whether or not it’s safe to remove USB storage devices without “ejecting” them first—the argument being that the chances of data corruption are higher if you…
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