To pull out a component from a system and plug in a new one while the main power is still on. Also called "hot plug" and "hot insertion," hot swap is a feature of USB devices, allowing an external drive, network adapter or other peripheral to be plugged in without having to power down the computer first. See USB.|
Fault Tolerant Environments
Hot swap is a desired feature of fault tolerant systems built with redundant drives, circuit boards and power supplies, especially servers that run 24/7. When a component fails and the redundant unit takes over, the bad one can be replaced without stopping the operation. Contrast with cold swap. See warm swap, hot fix and hot spare.