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The Secret Life of HDDs: Part I

Many consumers don’t realize that most everyday gadgets and devices use hard disk drives (HDDs) to store information. Toshiba drives are in everything from MP3 players to automobile GPS and infotainment systems, and office printers to gaming consoles.  It’s amazing how much people rely on HDDs and don’t even know it or how different their technology-saturated lifestyles would be without HDDs to store content. 

Most prevalent are 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives, but various features have to be factored in to determine the correct drive for each application. There are different connectors and interfaces to be considered for every situation in which data storage is necessary.  In this two-part series, I will discuss the secret life of HDDs: where they are hiding in your everyday life and what life would be like without them.

Safety and Security
Safety devices inherently are a “seen, but not heard” entity. People know that security cameras, auto safety features and surveillance tools exist in an effort to keep people and property safe, but often the public isn’t aware of how these technologies work and how all of the surveillance footage and GPS information is stored.

HDDs are prevalent sources for data storage on many of the military applications used to keep members in active duty out of harm’s way. For example, submarines use hard drives as part of their intricate tracking and radar systems below deck.

Surveillance and security cameras use hard drives to store video and data, both important when dealing with personal and enterprise security concerns. In many instances, the information saved on HDDs in security cameras can help solve crimes or alert law enforcement officials to dangerous situations. HDDs also help to provide peace of mind by making surveillance cameras more reliable when personal safety and corporate security matters.

Many automobile owners come in contact with hard drive-backed devices in their vehicles. Today’s cars frequently come equipped with hard drives in multiple forms. For example, HDDs track and store important information in navigation systems, including routes and maps. Additionally, the internal health monitoring systems, which are important for diagnosing and alerting drivers to problems with a car’s engine, may use hard disk drives.  Additionally, the entertainment systems synced within many automobiles, including in-car televisions, radios, CD drives, and MP3 players use hard drives for storage of movies, music, songs and personalized favorites.

Personal entertainment devices, such as Xbox and PlayStation consoles, have HDDs built in or offered as accessories.  The drive assists with streaming movies, and storing game results and personal data, ultimately enriching the viewer or gamer experience. Without the silent help of these built-in HDDs, watching movies and gaming would neither be as interactive or as enjoyable!

The Enterprise
Of course, anyone who works in an office knows that their computer has a hard drive. But, the enterprise environment is full of HDDs in many different applications. Many office printers have internal HDDs for storing scanned information and prioritizing printing jobs. In business settings, print documents used in sectors ranging from finance to retail and locations ranging from scientific research centers to schools encounter a hard drive somewhere along the path as it makes the transition from digital input to hard copy output. These HDD-supported printers are used worldwide by millions of people every day.

From safety devices to automobiles to personal entertainment devices to the enterprise, HDDs are everywhere. HDDs are critical to our everyday lives. But what if we didn’t have HDDs? Stay tuned for what our world would look without HDDs and why they are so critical to our daily lives.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc.

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