Removing Expansion Cards While Powered On

Do expansion cards function in the same way as USB devices re: removal and insertion?
Can I swap out expansion cards while the computer is running?
How do you safely eject storage?

I would think the answer would be yes for everything but the storage cards if you actually have the OS you are using installed on one of them.

depends on the expansion card.

Storage, including MicroSD if a card is in it at the time, you would want to safely eject first, but once safe eject is done you can just unplug it.

USB ports can just be ejected.

Video outs, namely HDMI right now, should be safe to just eject with the caveat of “depending on your OS.” Some OS’s really, really do not like a display randomly disappearing. It’s not super common these days to have problems like that, but worth mentioning.

The expansion cards are effectively USB-C adapters for each type of thing it is. So the same rules would apply to any other USB device: If you can just yank out, you can yank out the expansion card.


Nice, thanks for the answers!


Is this still accurate for the new AMD Ryzen laptops just released? I’m running Windows. Want to know if it’s safe to remove expansion cards & hot-swap (if that’s the correct terminology) the expansion cards w/o powering down.

Hey @Eclectic , my post was mostly an “in general” message, it wasn’t limited to any platform, Intel or AMD. It’s the nature of what the expansion cards are. Mostly it’s fine to “hot-swap” them, but it depends on the card/OS.

That said, it’s worth clarifying: the worst that’s going to happen is you might need to reboot. If you’re not sure what’ll happen with an expansion card, play with it. Try it at a time where a reboot isn’t going to hinder your work or something.

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