hot swapping VGA monitors

June 24, 2010 at 12:18:13
Specs: Windows XP
I am an IT pro and this is a general question regarding hot swapping VGA monitors. I had been told that doing so is OK and have been doing so for many years with no problem. I just read on another post that only USB supports hot swapping. Have I just been lucky or was that post incorrect?

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June 24, 2010 at 12:49:56
Yap. I heard it safe if u turn off the monitor first. Not only usb, sata also support hot swapping.

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June 24, 2010 at 13:12:10
I never thought of swapping monitors while the OS is running as hot swapping, at least in the way it works with a USB device. I think the only risk you run is swapping in a monitor that's not compatible with the previous monitor's resolution or refresh frequency. But that's not likely to do any damage.

I have noticed that sometimes a swapped monitor loses color and only shows a monochrome screen until the PC is rebooted. But again, no damage.

For the most part the OS doesn't care about the monitor. It just sets up the video card it's attached to and of course that's done when the OS loads.

I wouldn't worry about it. Think of all the times a monitor cable comes loose and is plugged back in while everything is running. If that caused problems we'd hear about it and I never have.

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June 24, 2010 at 13:50:10
Your talking about an analog device, There's no issue with swapping VGA, or RGB CRT's and LCD's. Thats why they make those boxes with switches on them so you can swap between two monitors on the fly.

DVI, no idea, I'm not that up-to-date yet, only have 1 LCD in the house, the rest CRT's. I would assume DVI would be just as hot-swappable thou.

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June 24, 2010 at 14:01:54
I have to completely agree with Dave and Outlander; used an old mechanical kvm switch for years with no problems.

Never a problem switching between my main machine with either a crt or lcd and anything from a 386 on up.


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June 24, 2010 at 14:56:32
Pulling out a vga cable is as harmless as pulling out a coax, composite, or component cable from a powered TV. As Outlander said, "Your talking about an analog device."

I've never disconnected a running DVI monitor, but I doubt it would cause damage. DVI and HDMI carry the same digital video signal. I've accidentally "hot swapped" HDMI devices with my receiver and TV--no harm done.

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June 24, 2010 at 16:41:06
Yes, it's probably not to be worried about- particularly since all our experiences point against it being a problem. I have to wonder though, how it being an analog connection would matter. Digital or analog, it's still an electronic connection to circuitry. If there is a considerable differential of current between one side of the connection or another, there is theoretically a potential for damage (however slight that potential may be.) Also, I believe USB would be considered a digital connection. I've been told the reason PS/2 ports aren't hot swappable is because of the potential for a static electricity diffential and I have witnessed a PS/2 port being blown out by hot swapping. Also, I don't think the KVM analogy is a valid one because KVM switches have PS/2 connections on them also. I think it is the circuitry within the KVM switch which protects them from damage when being switched, although the manual for the KVM switch I have here says that 'devices' are not to be removed while hooked up to a running computer. So there is a difference between using the switch normally and disconnecting the devices manually. That difference is probably buffer circuitry within the KVM switch. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of info available about hot swapping. Thanks for your input!

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