Computer Hard Disk

17 Jun

Our world is filled with various types of hard drives even though we may not know they are present. Most people relate to a hard drive of the type typically found inside of a computer. It is that particular type of drive that we access on a daily basis. The actual hard disk was invented in the 1950s and the name was chosen to distinguish this hard stationary unit from the more portable floppy disk.

Information storage in an almost permanent for was the reason behind the invention. It gives our computers and other electronics the ability to store information in a semi-permanent state, regardless of power loss or years on inactivity. Over the years we have been familiar with very similar devices such as the record, cassette tape, and compact disks. All of these items have the ability to store and record information. The hard drive is different as it is capable of reading, writing and erasing information endlessly, or so it seems.

The magnetic recording material of the hard disk is layered onto a high-precision aluminum or a glass-like disk. This is why it is advisable to never place a magnet near a computer. The hard-disk platter is polished to mirror-like smoothness. A hard disk can access a referenced point in the matter of seconds. Like a compact disk, a hard disk spins at high speeds and can hit a maximum speed of 170 mph! Within a few seconds your files can be accessed and read.

Hard disks around the globe are filled with tons data. The speed information is accessed and recorded has changed our world dramatically. Each passing year hard drives are able to store more and more data and access this data faster than ever before. A great example of this is when you fill out something on-line and almost instantaneously you are provided with your vital statistics.

Amazing! But, like any modern day wonders, there are drawbacks. A hard drive cannot be dropped, if it is, the disk plotter can jam or damage the platter. Once damaged, the chances of retrieving information is almost nonexistent. Unfortunately, there is no way to just open the drive and fix it. The hard disk is contained inside a sealed aluminum casing and prying one open will ruin the drive.

Curious as to what is inside this box? The metal case does have filtered ventilation holes so the unit can breathe and equalize pressure. Inside is the controls that reads and writes the disk, along with the motor. The platters inside are mirror-smooth and reflective. The motor is capable of spinning the platter anywhere from 3,500 to 7,200 rpms. There is also an arm that holds the head which reads and writes. Similar in fashion to the old record-player arm that read the grooves in a record. A typical hard disk has multiple platters and heads in order to increase the storage capacity of the drive.

Because hard disks can and will ultimately fail, it is imperative that you religiously back up your information so you always have a current file on hand. A great way to back up is to use portable drives, these drives connect to your computer with a USB cable and are capable of storing a great deal of information. The backup process is so simple and convenient that it should be done at least once a week or more depending on the amount of information you generate on a daily basis.


Posted by on June 17, 2011 in Computer, Laptop



3 responses to “Computer Hard Disk

  1. in every atom

    June 19, 2011 at 4:16 am

    Very well written article. Didn’t realize that there were several platters inside the hard disk. 🙂 And thanks for the excellent reminder to do periodic backups of one’s data.

  2. yap

    July 20, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Hi I would appreciate if you can help me out on this .when a power on the pc ,the monitor show “Boot failure ,Reboot and select proper boot device or Insert boot media in selected boot device .press any key when ready .”
    please advise how go about solving this problem .

    Thank you so much

    • Craig & Joe

      July 20, 2011 at 11:53 am

      In most situations this means your hard drive is dead. The best thing to do is insert your recovery disk and let it boot up. Once it does select the option to repair the drive. If the computer says it cannot find the hard drive, then your drive is shot. Good luck.


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