How do hard drives work? (I'm not an idiot)

Before you ignore this entirely, I know that hard drives use read heads to magnetically write bits into spinning platters. It knows where it put what and into what sector so it can retreive it later on.

What I want to know, which I thought would be interesting for either Wendell or Logan to talk about, is what is going on there...microscopically. What is being magnetized? Is a single molecule of a magnetizable alloy, is it larger than that? A square nanometer? And what exactly keeps these individual bits, however large or small they are, from being corrupted by their no doubt densely packed neighbors?

Thanks for your answer if you respond. I would like to reiterate my lack of idiocy...for safe measure.



This is an interesting question and one I've asked myself at times. The idea of exactly how a hard drive works is pretty facinating.

This honestly sounds like something Wendell could answer pretty good. I think he said something about hard drives in Inbox 002 but didn't go into detail about things like this.

Someone enlighten us about this. :D

Damn, i'd love to find a video of the manufacturing process too, seeing that they aren't that expensive for such tiny technology

I decided to browse google for some answers and came across this:

Which makes me wonder, how was the very first computer component made of pretty much everything? At some point a human being somewhere had to create the first motherboard, HDD etc mroe than likely by hand. How? Who? When?

I saw a documentary on it which featured IBM, i do remember that the inventor of the motherboard was a woman, which was exactly why it was called a "mother" board

So where did her daugher name the daughterboard?


yeah, it that inbox he talked about the performance difference of puuting HDD's in raid vs being stand alone. He only went in to how they work at a basic level (magnetic spinning platter, read/write head that moves around, etc.)