What is a Hard Drive. Hard drive definition


A computer’s hard drive is a device that stores all the software installed on the computer, as well as all the data files created and used by the software. This includes any documents that have been created and uploaded, such as photos, music, and video.

Difference Between Hard Drive and Memory

The hard drive is a form of permanent storage, unlike random access memory (RAM). When the computer is turned off, the files remain stored on the hard drive so that they can be used again the next time the computer is turned on.

A hard disk drive, also known as a “hard disk”, “HD” or “HDD” (hard disk drive) is a non-volatile storage device that stores digitally encoded data on rapidly rotating platters with magnetic surfaces. Early hard drives had removable media; however, today a hard drive is typically a sealed drive with fixed media, except for a vent hole to equalize air pressure.

Brief history

The hard drive was introduced in September 1956 and consists of one or more disks inside an air-sealed casing. Internal hard drives reside in a drive bay and connect to the motherboard via an ATA, SCSI, or SATA cable, and are powered by a connection to the power supply (power supply unit).

Every computer has at least one internal hard drive installed by default, which contains the operating system software and applications. If you are using the Windows operating system it is usually stored on the C drive. If you are using a Mac it is stored on a drive called a hard drive. If you need more storage capacity, you can additionally install one or more internal hard drives or connect external hard drives. Some computers have multiple drive letters, such as: C, D, E which represent disk partitions or one or more hard drives attached to the computer.

Hard drive is sometimes mistakenly referred to as “C drive” due to the fact that Microsoft Windows by default designates the letter “C” as the primary partition drive of the computer’s main hard drive. Although it is true, this is not a technically correct term, it is common to hear it.


The desktop hard drive consists of the following physical components: read/write head, disk, spindle, and head drive. On the back of a hard drive is a circuit board called the drive controller. As for the logical components of the hard drive, these are: cylinder, cluster, track and sector.

capacity and performance

The most important characteristic of a hard drive is the amount of data it can store, which is known as its storage capacity. Storage capacity has increased massively since it was introduced and will likely continue to increase in the future, driving down the cost of the drive per megabyte of storage. A typical internal hard drive has a storage capacity of several hundred gigabytes (GB) or even up to 1 or more terabytes (TB).

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