Friday, July 24, 2009

Understanding Hard Drives

A computer’s hard drive stores data, and maintains an index of files. When you save a file, especially a large one, it is scattered around the hard drive in bits and pieces. Files also are automatically created by browsers and operating systems. When you open a file, the hard drive checks the index, then gathers the bits and pieces and reconstructs them.

When you delete a file, the links between the index and the file disappear, signaling to your system that the file isn’t needed any longer and that hard drive space can be overwritten. But the bits and pieces of the deleted file stay on your computer until they’re overwritten, and they can be retrieved with a data recovery program. To remove data from your hard drive permanently, it needs to be wiped clean.

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