At the WinHec 97 conference this April in San Francisco, Microsoft will unveil its PC 98 Hardware Design Guidelines, a set of specifications for PC computer bays that allows for transparent hot-swapping of hardware devices. The specifications include desktop PCs and notebook computers.
Microsoft calls the hardware simply "Device Bay," and it will allow hardware manufacturers to write to a standardized spec that will work on all PCs. "Right now, everyone is electronically different," Gerry Purdy, president of Mobile Insights said. "You can't run an IBM ThinkPad's hard drive in a NEC Versa notebook, \[for example\]." On the desktop side, a rack of three or four open bays will be connected via the specification and be plug and play compatible. Users will then be able to sway devices in and out as needed without having to much around inside the box