Understanding Disks and Drives

Computers work with information. That information has to be stored on some type of medium. These days, that medium is most likely to be in the form of a disk or a card. You can also store information on tape, but tape is used primarily for backup.

Your computer’s hard disk

All the programs and information that are in your computer are actually stored on a disk. In most cases, you will never see that disk because it’s inside a sealed case. That disk goes by many names including hard disk, hard drive, and fixed disk. You may even hear it referred to as a solid-state drive.

Essentially, all of the data you work with, with the exception of information you browse to on the Internet, is stored on one or more hard disks in your computer. This includes Windows itself, your programs, and all of your documents, photos, videos, music, and other data.

Don’t confuse your hard disk with memory (also called RAM for random access memory). Your hard disk stores everything that’s in your computer. Memory stores data temporarily while you are using it.

You can also add extra hard drives to your system, either internally or externally. Each shows up as an icon in your Computer folder, as discussed later in this chapter.

Your main hard disk, drive C, is called a non-removable disk because you can’t just pop it out of the computer by pressing some button. Other types of disks are called removable media because you can pop them in and out of the computer quite ...

Get Windows 8 Bible now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.