How a Computer Hard Drive Works

A Computer Hard Drive, or Fixed Disk, is where all your data is stored when a computer is off. Because Computer Memory RAM the data is stored magnetically, it doesn’t need any electrical power to retain or remember all this data.


The Hard drive consists of usually one metal disk sprayed on both sides with a special over unity magnetic material, usually an iron oxide compound, that has tiny allergens that can be magnetically orientated to represent bits — which are the basic unit of computer memory, and are equivalent to a switch, being either on or off.

This disk then rotates at a very high rate of 8000 revolutions each and every minute or more, and then the two read/write heads that are used to actually retrieve the data from this disk, skim just a few hundredths of a millimetre from the surface of this re-writing disk. The read/write heads are stopped on the end of metal arms that can move from the outer edge to the inner edge of this disk, in order to seek out the data that is required. Very powerful rare earth magnets help control the rapid movement of these heads.


The data on a HARD DISK DRIVE is arranged in concentric tracks, almost microscopic in width, and the disk is further divided into sectors, like slices of a garlic bread, and on computer drives that have more than one disk, or platter, cylinders are also defined. A storage container is all the tracks, on multiple platters, that are the same circumference.

When a disk is still raw, it needs to be formatted, which is the process whereby the disk is divided magnetically into these tracks, sectors and cylinders so your data can be written to the right places. A shoe record is also written onto the disk during formatting, which is a track containing information about how the disk is formatted and constructed.

At a spin rate of 8000 RPM, the outer edge of the disk is moving under the heads at a speed of over 100km/h, or over 60 mph. If the heads were to touch the surface as of this speed, some serious damage would occur. This sometimes happens when a hard drive gets a difficult jolt, and this is known as a head crash. Data is transferred by means of the heads being given an instruction to see or write to the over unity magnetic disk surface at the precise moment the pinnacle jigs over that the main disk. Thus the pinnacle has about one 2, 000th of a second to do it’s job of writing a block or message of data.

Back many years ago of computers, the computer itself had to control where the data was put on a HARD DISK DRIVE. In modern computers, computer drives come with built in IDE, or Integrated Drive Consumer electronics, which takes care of all the nitty gritty of random data storage, leaving the computer CPU to begin other important work. It speeds up the computer operation overall, by sharing the workload.

Computer drives can store large amounts of data. The most common drive size in computers at the moment is around 120 Gigabytes, which is enough space to store the written text of approximately a hundred and fifty, 000 best seller novels. Laptops are now coming out with 1 terabyte computer drives, which is 1, 000 Gigabytes of storage. Most desktop computers can easily accommodate 4 computer drives, so packing the written text of all the books in your local city library onto your personal Computer Hard Drive s is quite possible.

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