Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Computer Hardware
Figure 17
Storage devices and RAM
A storage device
receives information
from RAM, writes it on
the storage medium,
and reads and
sends it back to RAM.
disk drive
storage medium
storage device
retrieve (read)
store (write)
Before you can understand the hardware that stores data, you need to know how data is
stored. All data and programs are stored as files. A computer file is a named collection of
related bits that exists on a storage medium. There are two categories of files: executable files
and data files. An executable file contains the instructions that tell a computer how to perform
a specific task. The files that are used during the boot process, for instance, are executable.
Users create data files , usually with software. For instance, a paper that you write with a word
processing program is data, and must be saved as a data file if you want to use it again.
The storage devices where computer files are kept can be categorized by the method they
use to store files. Magnetic storage devices use oxide-coated plastic storage media called
mylar . Figure 18 illustrates the process of storing data on magnetic media.
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