How Removable Storage Works

By: Jeff Tyson

Portable Memory

There are several reasons why removable storage is useful:

  • Commercial software
  • Making back-up copies of important information
  • Transporting data between two computers
  • Storing software and information that you don't need to access constantly
  • Copying information to give to someone else
  • Securing information that you don't want anyone else to access

Modern removable storage devices offer an incredible number of options, with storage capacities ranging from the 1.44 megabytes (MB) of a standard floppy to the upwards of 20-gigabyte (GB) capacity of some portable drives. All of these devices fall into one of three categories:


  • Magnetic storage
  • Optical storage
  • Solid-state storage

In the following sections, we will take an in-depth look at each of these technologies.