Alternatively referred to as digital storage, storage, storage media, or storage medium, a storage device is any hardware capable of holding information either temporarily or permanently. The picture shows an example of a Drobo, an external secondary storage device.
There are two types of storage devices used with computers: a primary storage device, such as RAM, and a secondary storage device, like a hard drive. Secondary storage can be removable, internal, or external storage.
Without a storage device, your computer would not be able to save any settings or information and would be considered a dumb terminal.
Examples of computer storage
Magnetic storage devices
Today, magnetic storage is one of the most common types of storage used with computers and is the technology that many computer hard drives use.
Optical storage devices
Another common storage is optical storage, which uses lasers and lights as its method of reading and writing data.
Flash memory devices
Flash memory has started to replace magnetic media as it becomes cheaper as it is the more efficient and reliable solution.
Online and cloud
Storing data online and in cloud storage is becoming popular as people need to access their data from more than one device.
Early computers had no method of using any of the above technologies for storing information and had to rely on paper. Today, these forms of storage are rarely used or found. In the picture to the right is an example of a woman entering data to a punch card using a punch card machine.
What is a storage location?
When saving anything on a computer, it may ask you for a storage location, which is the area in which you would like to save the information. By default, most information is saved to your computer hard drive. If you want to move the information to another computer, save it to a removable storage device such as a flash drive.
Are storage devices input and output devices?
No. Although these devices do send and receive information, they are not considered an input device or output device. It is more proper to refer to any device capable of storing and reading information as a storage device or a drive.