How Removable Storage Works

By: Jeff Tyson

Magnetic: Portable Drives

This 20-GB Pockey Drive fits in the palm of your hand.
Photo courtesy Pockey Drives

Completely external, portable hard drives are quickly becoming popular, due in a great part to USB technology. These units, like the ones inside a typical PC, have the drive mechanism and the media all in one sealed case. The drive connects to the PC via USB cable and, after the driver software is installed the first time, is automatically listed by Windows as an available drive.

Another type of portable hard drive is called a microdrive. These tiny hard drives are built into PCMCIA cards that can be plugged into any device with a PCMCIA slot, such as a laptop computer.


This microdrive holds 340 MB and is about the size of a matchbox.
Photo courtesy Iomega Corporation

You can read more about magnetic storage in How Hard Disks Work and How Tape Recorders Work. To learn about optical storage technology, check out the next page.