Magnetic storage is commonly used for storing large amounts of data such as videos, texts and images. All magnetic storage works in a similar way, recording data using tiny magnetized dots. Magnetic fields made by small electromagnets are then used to create, read and erase these dots. Three common types of magnetic storage, also called magnetic memory, are tapes, disks and hard drives. Tapes
cassette tapes are often used to store not only video, but the data and images as well. Tapes
were one of the first types of magnetic storage, using a coated tape wrapped around two wheels. Magnetized dots or particles are arranged along the length of a long plastic strip, which has been coated with a magnetizable layer, similar to the technology used for audio and video cassettes.
Of this type of magnetic storage, there are two options, coil to coil or cartridge. The cartridge typically has hundreds of meters of magnetic tape and is commonly used in personal computers. Reel-to-reel tapes have several thousand feet wound on spools. This type of magnetic storage is called a tape drive and is used on mainframes. The tape drive works like a two-head tape recorder. One head reads the information, the other writes. As the tape winds over the head, data is written or read. Tapes are an inexpensive type of magnetic storage, but they are slow because you must rewind or fast forward the tape to where the data needs to start.
Floppy disks aren’t used very often anymore having been replaced by CDs for data storage.
Removable media such as floppy disks transfer small amounts of data either between computers or to backup disks. Almost all computers used to have a floppy drive, but they’ve been replaced for the most part by CD and DVD. On these discs, magnetized dots are arranged in circles on the surface of the disc (plastic, metal or glass) which has a magnetizable coating. The floppy disk drive reads and writes to a small round piece of metal-coated plastic much more like an audio cassette. Magnetic disks are coated with iron oxide, which is ferromagnetic, meaning it becomes permanently magnetized if exposed to a magnetic field.
Your computer’s hard drive uses magnetic particles to store immediately accessible data. hard drives
can store large amounts of data and are called random access devices, which means you don’t have to search through the hard drive to find the data before retrieving it. Hard disks store data on rotating metal or glass disks (platters). Most computers have a hard drive built in. These drives are the primary storage device for most computers because they provide instant access to files at high speed. There are also portable hard drives, which are outside the computer and connected via a USB connection or similar. Portable hard drives are commonly used to transfer data between computers.
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