What Is a Hard Drive?

Introduction: What Is a Hard Drive?

A Hard Disk Drive or Hard Drive is a high-capacity, self-contained storage device containing a read-write mechanism plus one or more hard disks, inside a sealed unit. There are two types of drives, the Hard Disk Drive and the Solid State Drive, but I will only be covering the Hard Disk Drive. The Hard Drive consists of a Read and Write Head, 1-10 platters, Actuator Assembly, Voice Coil and Magnet, Spindle Motor.First, let's break this down and teach you about each part and how it helps store your data. Starting with the Read and Write head, the read and write head has a very small electromagnet that changes the platters magnetic property into a current. It changes the direction of the magnetic field in certain areas then this is read as ones and zeros turning it into a current. Secondly, we will talk about the Actuator Assembly; the Actuator Assembly moves the read and right hand around the disc where the head needs to be; It moves thanks to the Voice Coil and Magnet using an electromagnet to pull or push the arm across the platter. Finally, I will inform you on the platter; a platter is one single disk inside the unit but, there can be 1-10 platters in a single unit increasing the size the Hard Disk Drive can hold. The platter consists of a magnetic property allowing the read and writes head to change the polarity in small areas so it is read as North and South polarities, but the computer interprets this as ones and zeros. All of these parts work together to create a piece of hardware that stores data so that you can hang onto those family photos as well as your important documents.

Step 1: Hard Drive Installation

Now I will show you how to install the hard drive into your computer. Firstly you are going to have to take the side off of the computer revealing the DVD/HDD mounting area. Depending on your case you will either have latches that latch down and hold the hard drive in place, or you will have screws you will have to insert on the sides of the mounting area to keep the hard drive in place. Secondly, you will want to acquire the power cable/ transfer cable for the hard drive. There are three types of power/data cables for Hard Drives; there is the SATA Power Cable, Molex Cable, and SATA Interface Cable. After completing these two simple steps, you now should have the abilities to mount and power your hard drive correctly and effectively.

Step 2: Maintaining a Hard Drive

There are a couple of ways to maintain your Hard Drive. Some of those being, defragmentation, physical cleaning, creating back-ups. Firstly defragmentation, or defragging, is a way of cleaning up your hard drive as well as reorganizing the data stored so it is easier for your computer to access these files quickly. Physically cleaning your hard drive consists of clearing it of dust and making sure it is getting proper air flow so it doesn't now overheat. Finally always create back-ups of your hard drive whether that be onto another hard drive and then store that one of even sensitive data on a USB Flash Drive. In order to defrag a hard drive, you want to click start in the lower left-hand corner and type in Defragment and then a program will show up; you want to run the program and then select the drive you would like to defrag and you should be all good to go.

Step 3: Troubleshooting a Hard Drive

Troubleshooting is a skill everybody needs to be familiar with because you never know when a piece of tech will give out and you can get anybody else to help you repair it. In the case of troubleshooting a hard drive, you will want to test a number of things. Firstly you will want to test if it is the hard drive itself that is causing the issue; you can test this by connecting the hard drive to another computer and test whether it reads the drive as active and powered, secondly, you will wanna test the ports on your motherboard because a faulty port could make it look like there is something wrong with your drive but there might not be anything wrong with the drive just the SATA port; you can test this by trying a different port or even a different cable.

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