What are hot swappable and cold swappable devices? How do they differ?

Hot-swappable and cold-swappable, most of the users came across this. Hot-swappable is a term which you will come across while shopping computer and mobile peripherals. But what is that! And why the term cold-swappable is not that common. You will find all your answers here in this article.

What are hot-swappable and cold-swappable devices

Hot-swappable devices

Hot-swappable devices are those devices which can be plugged and unplugged without turning off the system. That’s what the definition goes. Pen drives, USB keyboard, and mice, Ethernet cables all are hot-swappable. Though removing a pen drive require a few more clicks to eject it safely. But that doesn’t snatch the ‘Hot swappable’ certification away from it. Hot-swappable devices are always demanded by people. There are obvious reasons behind it. Plug in and eject them without any hassles. It is the reason, why manufacturers advertise their devices with the hot-swappable feature.


Cold swappable devices

Yes, you got it right. Cold swappable devices are just the opposite of hot-swappable ones. They need to be plugged in and out when the device is off. Examples are RAM sticks, hard drives, Graphics cards, etc. That’s not the end. Even PS2 mice and keyboards are cold-swappable. You can get more information about them here. Cold swappable devices are not that handy and flexible. Thus it is the limitation of any device. It is a downside. You came to know, why. That is the reason, why the cold-swappable feature is not advertised by the manufacturers.

Yes, that is the reason why getting a hot-swappable device are better. At least than getting a cold-swappable counterpart of the same device.


Can cold-swappable devices be made hot swappable

Now that’s an interesting question. And the answer is ‘yes’. But you need appropriate systems and devices for that. But that can lead to extra limitations. It depends on the device and the system you are using.

For example, you can make your PS2 mice and keyboard hot-swappable. How! With a USB to the PS2 converter. Just plug in the PS2 keyboard and mouse to it. Connect the USB male to your computer. Now it is a hot-swappable mouse and keyboard combo.

Hard drives are cold-swappable. But putting it in an external hard drive adapter can make it hot swappable. Yes, it can then make the hard drive complicated to boot from. But after all, it is hot-swappable now. There are even some NAS which support hot swapping of hard drives.

Though there are some devices which cannot turn from cold-swappable to hot-swappable. Yes, RAM sticks and GPUs. Why? They are core components of the computer. That is the reason they cannot be made hot-swappable.

Hopefully, the terms hot-swappable and cold-swappable are clear to you now! Have more queries in mind? Let me know in the comment section down below.