Internal Hard Drive Swapping Without Powering Off.
So I just noticed, after several years, I had an unpublished draft in blogger. So I check it out, and decided to post it below, because it’s still good info for those who don’t know. This must be several years old. I don’t really use that method any longer – I do the vast majority of virus removals while on a live system, not in an offline environment as mentioned below.
Anyway, here’s an unmodified x year old blog post I forgot to publish about something I learned many years prior to that:
About 8 years ago while working as a bench tech, I discovered the joys forgetting to power off systems before swapping hardware, quite by accident.
- WORKS EVERY TIME, on every system (with some issues, so see my method below for a trouble-free experience)
- This is especially useful if I don’t want to power off my TBC to attach/unattach a client’s hard drive for virus scanning. Sure you can use a USB adapter – unbearable especially 8 years ago but also if your boss is too cheap to spring for a USB2 in your TBC.
Connect method, order is very important:
- Connect the ribbon cable to the hdd
- Connect the 4-pin power to the hdd – note: be VERY CAREFUL and plug it in straight! I’ve seen loose molex connectors where the metal is near the edge of the plastic cylinder and maybe sticks out a bit, and plugging in the molex at an angle you might rub a few pins together. if you do this, you might smell smoke and you just fried the controller board on that hard drive.
- In device manager, scan for new hardware, it will detect the hdd under disk drives, then poof it will be available for use under a new drive letter
- Close any application that may have an open handle to the drive you will remove. This means applications with open files, Explorer windows, command prompts (you can just change the drive, however.)
- Wait a few seconds for windows to realize you’re no longer using the drive.
- In device manager > disk drives, right click the hard drive to remove and uninstall. (if you don’t know which drive, in diskmgmt.msc you can figure it out by right-click on the drive letter and checking properties.)
- If device manager removes the device without asking you to restart the computer, you are good, move on. If the devices is still there or you are asked to restart, don’t — just check again to ensure you have no open handles to the partition on that drive. A utility like Process Explorer can sniff out the issue by searching for handles with string “F:” or whatever your assigned drive letter is. Maybe you just needed to wait a little longer because perhaps Windows is still writing data to the disk from a file copy or other file operation – writing all cache to disk may help – there are methods and utilities for that I won’t go into because you really shouldn’t be having this level of trouble I just mention it b/c it’s happened to me 1/1000 times and I just shutdown the TBC at this point anyway.
- After device manager removes the devices, pull the power cable
- Pull the ribbon cable, and you’re done.