In general, primary refers to something ordered first in a sequence, or something of first-order importance. With computer hard drives, a primary drive is the first drive on a computer with more than one drive. For example, in Windows, the primary drive is the C: drive. If you had another hard drive in Windows, it would likely be the D: drive.
A hard drive may also be a Pri master, which indicates the hard drive is the primary drive on the primary data channel of its connection to the motherboard.
Primary jumper setting
With early hard drives, this setting was referred to as a "master" setting. However, because "master" is offensive in this context, it's better to refer to this drive as "primary" or "device0."
The primary drive may also have a primary partition, which is the first partition containing a single file system (but is not necessarily ordered first on the drive). A hard drive can contain up to four primary partitions, only one of which can be "active" (bootable). By contrast, an extended partition can contain multiple logical partitions, each with a different filesystem. A hard drive can contain only one extended partition.
Other examples of primary with computers
- Primary cache
- Primary channel
- Primary Domain Controller
- Primary drive
- Primary key
- Primary monitor
- Primary partition
- Primary storage device