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Introducing computing and IT
Introducing computing and IT

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5.2 Storing files on a hard drive

Rupert scratched his head. “I know that the operating system manages the data on the hard drive,” he said, “but how does it do it?”

“Well, the first thing to understand is how data is organised. You know that data is stored in files – you can have document files, spreadsheets, database files, music files, and so on? Well, the operating system runs something called a file system, which dictates how data is written to – and recovered from – a disk, and also records the location of the file stored on the disk.

“So, just as old-fashioned, paper-based offices might have different filing systems, the same is true of computer file systems. There are file systems that are faster than others, or designed for different storage capacities, or to be more secure or robust. The developers of operating systems have been instrumental in designing file systems, and so most personal computers use one of the file systems that are integrated into Windows, Apple or Linux.”