In 2020, each human created an average of 1.7 megabytes (MB) of data each second. That equates to 2.5 quintillion bytes of daily data per person.
Most data that people produce get saved in computer storage devices. Even this article you’re reading is a file saved permanently in one of these containers.
So, what is storage in a computer, and how exactly does it work? How much of it do you even need?
We’ll answer all these questions in this post, so be sure to read on!
What Is Storage In a Computer?
Storage in a computer is a technology that serves as permanent data containers. It’s non-volatile, which means it retains saved data even if it stops receiving power. The data remains in storage for as long as you don’t overwrite or delete it.
How Does Storage vs. Memory Differ?
If you look at computer specs, you’ll find that memory usually refers to random access memory (RAM). RAM is volatile, so it loses the data it holds as soon as it stops receiving electrical current. So if storage is to permanent data retention, memory is to temporary data retention.
However, memory is just as important as it’s the one at play during active tasks. For example, it’s the RAM at work when you use software or when you browse the internet. It may only hold data temporarily, but it’s at least 70 times faster than an HDD.
What Are Examples of Computer Storage?
Built-in computer storage devices include hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs). HDDs used to be the standard internal storage, but most modern models now come with SSDs. SSDs are at least four times speedier and less prone to breakdowns than HDDs.
External computer storage devices include external hard drives (EHDs) and USB drives. These portable containers allow you to transfer data from one device to another. EHDs with significant storage capacities also enable you to create data backups.
How Does Computer Storage Work?
Your computer stores all the data you need in the long run in its storage device. These include all files necessary to launch and execute your operating system (OS). The same goes for all other data you save, such as downloaded apps, documents, and multi-media.
Your computer’s storage device is already at work when you turn your computer on. It gives your computer access to the stored OS, launching it upon boot. It also plays a role in the desktop sign-in process, as it stores your log-in credentials.
Your computer also taps your storage for every other app you launch. Whether it’s Microsoft Office, Chrome, or Photoshop, all their files are in your storage. All files you save from these apps then also get stored in your computer’s storage device.
How Much Storage Is Enough Then?
At least 256 gigabytes (GB) of storage should be enough for typical computer users. This is also the capacity you’ll find in most new laptops and desktops.
Users who produce loads of files, such as creative workers, should have no less than 512 GB of storage, though. They can also go for 1 or 2 terabytes (TB) hard drive options if they need more space.
Companies that deal with massive amounts of data may have to use enterprise storage. You might want to check out this page for more information on key enterprise storage metrics.
Invest in the Right Storage Capacity
There you have it, the complete guide that answers your question, “what is storage in a computer?” Now, you know that it’s the storage that holds all your permanent files, from your OS to your photos. Without it, your computer will have no way to run, which is why it’s just as important as memory.
So, if you’re in the market for a new computer, be sure to buy one with enough storage space.