Just What Is A Hard Drive?

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As a computer owner, the word hard drive will come up during purchase, use and resale or gifting your computer. Since this is an unavoidable term in computing, what is a hard drive? A hard drive, which is also called a hard disk drive (HDD), is an important component of a computer. This component functions like a storage device to enable a computer to store and execute programs and files like the operating system, as well as seeking, reading and writing data on user and system-generated files.

Due to the delicate nature of a hard disk, it is susceptible to data corruption, loss or damage. The cost of replacing or repairing a hard drive can be high. You can prevent damage by reducing exposure to different factors such as water, rough-handling and dust among other things.

Types of Hard Drives

There are two main kinds of hard drives, and these are the internal and the external drives.

1. Internal Hard Drives
Internal drives are the computers main storage, and the operating system and other programs that the user has installed are stored here. Many computers designate this as the primary partition C drive, which is where program installation happens. Modern computers have hundreds of gigabytes of storage to provide enough room for storing the users media files, applications and documents throughout the life of the computer. Internal hard drives connect to computers through either Small Computer System Interface (SCSI), Parallel Advanced Technology (PATA) or Serial ATA (SATA).

2. External Hard Drives
External drives usually act as back-up drives, and these hold additional copies of programs and documents, archived files or large files that are not used regularly and many other files. These do not store the operating system and programs that the computer needs to work. External drives are connected to computers through FireWire or USB connection, even though there are wireless models available. Because they can be moved with ease from one computer to the other, these drives are also called portable drives.

How to Extend the Life of Your Hard Drive

As a computer user, there are things you can do to ensure that your hard drive lasts longer. You should always handle your computer gently because moving it abruptly could lead to a head crash. It is advisable to move a powered-on computer as little as you can, because the hard drive is likely to suffer damage when the computer is running.

Despite the hard drive being sealed, ensure that you keep your computer dust-free and water-free. Additionally, ensure that the fan and other cooling devices are not only clean but also functioning well. Backing up your computers data regularly on external hard drives, cloud storage and flash drives can help you avoid losing your data if your drive fails or needs replacement or repair.

Repairs on hard drives can be costly, and these should be done by professionals. Attempting to open your hard drive at home could ruin it. This information on what is a hard drive? ensures that you understand the significance of this component to your computer system.

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