Hotswap allows you to register and unregister hotswappable IDE devices, for example notebook computers modules, with the Linux kernel.

It has been developed on and for a Dell Latitude C600, but does not use any hardware programming information specific to that machine.

The program assumes by default that the module bay interfaces with the secondary IDE bus (ide1 to the kernel), i.e, a CDROM device would show up as /dev/hdc. A different IDE controller can be selected with a command line option to accommodate different designs.

Please note that hotswapping support for IDE devices in the Linux kernel is a bit of a kludge. Hotswapping does not work properly if another device is present on the same IDE bus. It also does not allow reconfiguration of the IDE controller itself, which will prevent DMA from working properly if no device was present during boot. The details depend on your combination of BIOS, kernel, and controller. Some kernel versions (early 2.4 series) will panic when trying to insert an IDE device unless booted with. On other combinations of kernel and controller hardware it is not safe to try and configure a device that is not actually connected: the kernel will hang on the next attempt to configure a device.

Hopefully some of these problems, which are due to the design of the IDE subsystem, will be addressed in newer kernel releases.


Current Versions

Old Versions


I should like to thank Wouter Verhelst for creating the original Debian package for hotswap as well as for contributing the first version of the manual pages and the Dutch translation of the user interface; Peter Goron for the French translation and valuable bug fixes; and Jean-Eric Cuendet for writing the Gnome frontend for hotswap. Alberto Gonzalez Iniesta is the current maintainer of the Debian package.