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IT Technology

Difference Between Flash Memory and Hard Drive

Flash Memory vs Hard Disk

Summary: Difference Between Flash Memory and Hard Drive is that Flash memory is a type of nonvolatile memory that can be erased electronically and rewritten. While hard drive is a storage device that contains one or more inflexible, circular platters that use magnetic particles to store data, instructions, and information.

Difference Between Flash Memory and Hard Drive

Flash Memory

Flash memory is a type of nonvolatile memory that can be erased electronically and rewritten. Most computers use flash memory to hold their startup instructions because it allows the computer easily to update its contents. For example, when the computer changes from standard time to daylight savings time, the contents of a flash memory chip (and the real-time clock chip) change to reflect the new time.

Flash memory chips also store data and programs on many mobile computers and devices, such as smart phones, portable media players, PDAs, printers, digital cameras, automotive devices, digital voice recorders, and pagers. Some portable media players store music on flash memory chips. Others store music on tiny hard disks or flash memory cards. Flash memory cards contain flash memory on a removable device instead of a chip.

Hard Disk

A hard disk is a storage device that contains one or more inflexible, circular platters that use magnetic particles to store data, instructions, and information. The system unit on most desktop and notebook computers contains at least one hard disk. The entire device is enclosed in an airtight, sealed case to protect it from contamination. A hard disk that is mounted inside the system unit sometimes is called a fixed disk because it is not portable. With respect to a storage medium, the term portable means you can remove the medium from one computer and carry it to another computer.

Current personal computer hard disks have storage capacities from 160 GB to 2 TB and more. Home users store documents, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, e-mail messages, Web pages, digital photos, music, videos, and software on hard disks. Businesses use hard disks to store correspondence, reports, financial records, e-mail messages, customer orders and invoices, payroll records, inventory records, presentations, contracts, marketing literature, schedules, and Web sites.

Traditionally, hard disks stored data using longitudinal recording, which aligned the magnetic particles horizontally around the surface of the disk. With perpendicular recording, by contrast, hard disks align the magnetic particles vertically, or perpendicular to the disk’s surface, making much greater storage capacities possible. Experts estimate that hard disks using perpendicular recording provide storage capacities about 10 times greater than disks that use longitudinal recording. Hard disks are read/write storage media. That is, you can read from and write on a hard disk any number of times.

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