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Hard Drive Glossary
ATA (Advanced Technology Attachment)
A hard drive interface
standard for IDE (Integrated Drive
Electronics). A standard for storage devices that lets them be treated as if
they were hard drives on the system. Any ATA compatible media can be read by
any ATA device.
AVERAGE ACCESS TIME
The time (in milliseconds) that a hard drive takes to find
the right track in response to a request. plus the time it
takes to get to the right place on the track (the latency).
To make a copy of a file, group of files, or the entire contents of a hard
drive– either for archiving
purposes or for safeguarding valuable files from loss should the active copy
be damaged or destroyed.
A disk sector that can no longer be
used for data storage, usually due to media damage or imperfections. .
BIOS (Basic Input/Output System)
A collection of computer routines that control peripherals such as hard
A binary digit: the smallest piece of information that can be recognized
and processed by a computer. A bit is either 0 or 1. Bits can form larger
units of information called bytes (8
A head-to-toe garment worn by personnel in a computer chip manufacturing
A term used for an electronic device in which a number of elements are wired
together with a single wire in such way that all the elements can use the
same wire to transmit information to other devices on it. Buses are used
internally in computers and used to attach computers to peripheral
components. Only devices
addressed by the signals pay attention to them; the others discard the
A sequence of adjacent binary digits that the computer considers a unit. A
byte consists of 8 bits.
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OPERATING SYSTEM (OS)
The operating system performs basic tasks such as recognizing input from the
keyboard, sending output to the screen, keeping track of files and
directories on the drive, and controlling
peripheral devices such as hard drives and printers. PC operating systems include DOS and Windows XP,
and Apple Macintosh operating systems include OS 9 and OS X.
A method for creating a logical file structure that the operating system can
access. Partitioning devides an area on the disk drive for use by more than
one disc operating system, or for dividing large disc drives into areas
which the file allocation table (FAT) can deal with when in use.
A device that performs a function and is external to the system board.
Peripherals include displays, hard drives and printers.
A metal – or other rigid material – disk that is mounted inside a
fixed-disk drive. Many drives
consist of multiple platters mounted on the
spindle to provide more data storage
surfaces. Each platter may use one or both surfaces to store data.
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(Redundant Array of Independent Disks)
A way of storing the same data in different places (thus, redundantly) on
multiple hard drives. By placing
data on multiple disks, input/output operations can overlap in a balanced
way, improving performance. Since multiple disks increases the mean time
between failure, storing data
redundantly increases fault-tolerance.
RAM (Random-Access Memory)
Also known as read-write memory; the memory used to execute application
ROM (Read-Only Memory)
The memory chip(s) that permanently store computer information and
instructions. Your computer's BIOS (basic
input/output system) information is stored in a ROM chip.
RPM is a measurement of how fast hard drive platters are
spinning (in revolutions per minute). The faster the spin rate, the less
time it takes for the drive to read or write a given amount of data.
A flat cable containing numerous wires, used to connect components within
the computer casing.
(Small Computer System Interface)
A system-level interface designed for general purpose applications that
allows up to seven devices to be connected to a single host adapter. It uses
an 8-bit parallel connection that produces a maximum transfer rate of 5Mb
per second. The term is pronounced "scuzzy."
The basic storage unit on a hard drive.
On most modern hard disks, sectors are 512 bytes each, four sectors make up
Seek time is an average of how long a drive takes to move the read/write heads to a particular
track on the disc. It includes controller overhead but does
not include drive latency.
SMART (Self Monitoring Analysis And Reporting Technology)
SMART is an industry standard compatible with most modern hard drives and employs predictive diagnostics and
analysis to help foresee a drive failure before it happens.
One part of a hard drive, around
which the platters rotate.
A connection between the hard drive and its host
system that puts control and data-separation functions on the drive itself.
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The circular path traced across the spinning surface of a disk platter by the read/write head inside
the hard drive. The track
consists of one or more clusters.
The speed at which a hard drive
can transfer information between its plattters and the CPU. The transfer rate
is typically measured in megabytes
per second, megabits per second, or megahertz.
Ultra ATA/100 is an extension of the current Ultra ATA/66 interface. Ultra
ATA/100 is a high-speed interface that has the capability of a 100
Mbytes/sec transfer rate and a maximized disk performance under the current
PCI local bus environment.
UNIVERSAL SERIAL BUS (USB)
A serial bus with a bandwidth of 1.5 megabits
per second (Mbps) for connecting peripherals to a microcomputer. USB can
connect up to 127 peripherals, such as external CD-ROM drives, printers,
modems, mice, and keyboards, to the system through a single, general-purpose
port. This is accomplished by daisy chaining peripherals together. USB
supports hot plugging and multiple data streams.
A program designed to perform maintenance work on a system or on system
components, e.g. a storage backup program, a disk and file recovery program,
or a resource editor.
Software that is used to scan for and eradicate computer viruses, worms, and
A portion of a physical disk that functions
as though it were a physically separate disk.
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Glossary Information reprinted with permission
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