Hot swapping and hot plugging are terms used to describe the functions of replacing computer system components without shutting down the system. More specifically, hot swapping describes replacing components without significant interruption to the system, while hot plugging describes the addition of components that would expand the system without significant interruption to the operation of the system. Once the appropriate software is installed on the computer, a user can plug and unplug the component without rebooting. A well-known example of this functionality is the Universal Serial Bus (USB) that allows users to add or remove peripheral components such as a mouse, keyboard, or printer.

Source: Wikipedia.

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