Hot-swap functionality is dependent on the SATA driver for the controller in question. One would think that if a manufacturer implements eSATA compliance in their controller, that they would also implement hot-swap, but alas that isn't the case.
A prime example is the Intel ICH8R/9R south bridge. It is eSATA compliant, and in fact if you purchase an Intel motherboard, it even comes with a bracket that allows one of the internal SATA ports to become an eSATA port, so you can plug in an eSATA device. Of course, in Intel's infinite wisdom, they did not implement hot-swap in the ICH driver, so there is no Safely Remove Hardware icon in the system tray to allow you to actually hot swap the drive.
What is the recommended way to connect and disconnect external eSata hard drives safely on a live system?
We have a Windows 2003 server that has an eSata hard drive connected to it and we want to be able to disconnect it safely without shutting it down all the time. The controller we are using is a SIIG eSata II-150 PCI.
According to the box, it states that it supports SATA hard disk hot-plugging.
We don't have an option in "Safely Remove Hardware" either. When we try to configure the drive so that we can optimize for quick removal, the section are greyed out and optimize for performance is selected.
Yeh they can as the original SATA II can HotPlug, eSATA is just an external version of it...
I have ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe WiFi Motherboard and it has 6 SATA ports that is standard with the nForce 590 SLI chipset, and 2 additional SATA ports with dedicated Silicaon Image Sil 3132 SATA controller that has one port in the mobo and eSATA port in the back panel...
The first time I installed the mobo, I was chocked to see all my partitions in the 'Safely remove Hardware' even the system C: !!
I did some google search then I found that installing the SATA drivers that nVIDIA bring with it's nForce drivers package will enable the Hot-Plugging feature, but using Windows standard drivers wont, so I just removed the drivers and every thing is ok...
but the eSATA port wich uses the SI Sil 3132 chip still active, but only shows up when I connect a SATA drive to it
You can hot swap any disk which can be converted to Dynamic Disk in Windows XP or Vista; either SATA or even IDE.
Just open the Administrative Tools in control panel, then Computer Management, and under Storage group open Disk Management.
You'll see all your disks listed with their capacity shown graphically.
Your disks are organized with numbers like Disk0, Disk1, Disk3. Right click on the area where you see those labels and select Convert to Dynamic Disk.
Read any instructions and warnings carefully if anything that won't suit your situation happens duing the process.
Your files will not be deleted by this conversion and nothing will be changed at all. Although this action is completely safe, I recommend to convert only the disks that you need to hot-swap; not all of your disks.
After all why would Microsoft not simply format all the disks as dynamic from the beginning, so that you can hot-swap any disk at any time? And you cannot boot your system from any volumes on the dynamic disk (except from the current boot volume).
Hot swapping an IDE dynamic disk is again done from Administrative Tools (Disk Management) and is simple. I don't remember the exact command but there are commands on the above mentioned menu to activate or deactivate (or stop) the volume.
To hot plug in you simply plug in and scan the disk from Disk Manager menu. I don't remember the exact procedure but you may need to Import Foreign Disk as well.
Look at the menus and try (but with care. READ ANY INSTRUCTIONS) Windows doesn't delete your data without a warning. SO READ!
It looks like a nightmare at first, as you hear speed up sound of the disk while the computer is operating, but as you scan and find your disk you feel a bit relieved.
As you see your files on explorer you feel totally relieved.
Plugging out the disk is a little more work. You have to remove the disk from some menu there. As you can no longer see the disk on disk manager window just plug out.
You'll be surprised how your computer doesn't get hanged by such an operation
Mine does get hanged even by plugging out the Ps2 keyboard.
But thanks to the great programming behind Dynamic Disk.
You may consider buying a hard disk box to easily plug in such an internal disk externally.