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PCs For Dummies® Windows®, 7 Edition by Dan Gookin

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Chapter 9. The Mass Storage System

In This Chapter

  • Understanding mass storage

  • Recognizing the hard drive

  • Using the optical drive

  • Working with media cards and thumb drives

  • Adding external storage

  • Using storage media in Windows

Call it junk or call it treasure, we humans tend to accumulate a lot of it. Some people hoard it. They have so much of it that they fill their closets, attics, and garages to overflowing. Some rent even more storage space. It's not really a question of whether that stuff is worth anything; the issue at hand is storage itself. Given that you like your stuff, where will you put it?

Just as in real life, you accumulate a lot of stuff in your computer: stuff you create and stuff you collect, plus stuff such as programs, the operating system, and all sorts of delicious digital data. The place to put, keep, and store that stuff is in the PC's mass storage system, which is this chapter's subject.

What Is Mass Storage?

Mass storage is the second half of the PC's storage system. The first half is temporary storage, or computer memory (refer to Chapter 8). Mass storage is permanent storage, required for keeping information for the long term.

The stuff placed in mass storage is information the computer needs every time you turn on the PC. The mass storage system is where the operating system is stored, where all your PC programs are kept, and where you keep the stuff you create and collect. Yes, it's the PC's closet.

Briefly, the computer manages its storage system by creating things ...

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