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
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.