HARD DRIVES

BY VERITY MCPHAIL

HOW DO HARD DRIVES WORK?

There's just a large shiny, circular "plate" of magnetic material called a platter, divided into billions of tiny areas. Each one of those areas can be independently magnetized (to store a 1) or demagnetized (to store a 0). Magnetism is used in computer storage because it goes on storing information even when the power is switched off. If you magnetize a nail, it stays magnetized until you demagnetize it. In much the same way, the computerized information (or data) stored in your PC hard drive or iPod stays there even when you switch the power off.
How a Hard Drive works

WHATS IN A HARD DRIVE

  1. Actuator (compact electric motor that moves the read-write arm).
  2. Read-write arm swings read-write head back and forth across platter.
  3. Central spindle allows platter to rotate at high speed.
  4. Magnetic platter stores information in binary form.
  5. Plug connections link hard drive to circuit board in personal computer.
  6. Read-write head is a tiny magnet on the end of the read-write arm.
  7. Circuit board on underside controls the flow of data to and from the platter.
  8. Flexible connector carries data from circuit board to read-write head and platter.
  9. Small spindle allows read-write arm to swing across platter.

LOOK AT THE IMAGE BELOW!!


Sizes:

In recent years the hard drive market has benefited from technology advances which allows for larger capacity drives with falling prices. This benefits the users and allows for additional drives to be used either as a main disk or many choosing to add a disk purely for backup purposes.

It is still possible to buy small 20-30GB drives, but for literally £10 more you can purchase a drive with upwards of 60-80GB.

We would suggest a drive of around 120GB for most users as this will allow for plenty of capacity for everyday use and for disk hungry tasks. You can of course divide or partition the drive this allows for backups to be copied from one partition to the other and allows for easier maintenance and organisation of files.