Hot-Swapping Hard Drives For Backup In Windows XP

I'm in the process of moving away from tapes for backing up the data on two servers, and purchased a hot-swappable drive bay from Addonics and a pair of 1TB drives to do some testing. The plan is to have the drive bay in a machine running Retrospect that backs up data from the two servers over the network; a full backup once a week, and incremental backups in between. After a week of incremental backups, I'd swap out the drive with another that's kept offsite.

The trouble I'm having, as others have had before, is that once a hard drive is set up in XP there doesn't seem to be a way to tell the system that you want to remove the drive and swap it out.

I read somewhere that having a controller with hot-swap capabilities is necessary for this, so I purchased a couple of PCI SATA adapters, one a 5-port RAID card and the other a 2-port (both claiming to be hot-swap capable.) The RAID card appears to only allow hot-swapping in RAID sets, and the other (a Rosewill RC-210) doesn't seem to have any more hot-swap capabilites than the onboard SATA controller.

So I guess my question is two-fold: 1. Is there a way to tell Windows XP that you're done with a drive so that it can be removed gracefully? 2. Is there a better way to accomplish what I want to do using Retrospect running on Windows XP Pro?
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Chris BRetiredCommented:
If you use USB enclosures the drive/s will appear in safely remove as removable devices.

Chris B
Yeah, but USB is very slow ( until USB 3 comes out... )

Chris BRetiredCommented:
If backing up overnight speed shouldn't matter so much. Of course an eSata port would be nice...

Chris B
FIrewire is an alternative solution, removable and about twice as fast as USB.

Other options are a CHEAP NAS box.

I hope this helps !
cimarronlabelAuthor Commented:
I found a third-party system tray utility that allows hot-swaps to happen; it's called HotSwap! & works like a charm. Click on the icon, select the drive you want to remove, and it does the following to allow the drive to be removed:
* Compatible user interface with the "Safely Remove Hardware" icon on Windows XP.
* Confirms all volumes assigned to the drive are not in use before removing it.
* Spin-down the drive to remove the drive safely.
* Not only fixed disk drives but also other type of drives can be removed.
* Runs without user interface by given command line switch and also the message popup can be suppressed.

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