teach-ict.com logo

THE education site for computer science and ICT

2. Storage devices and media

There are two very similar terms used when discussing secondary storage. You need to be able to tell the difference between the two.

hard diskSecondary Storage Device

A secondary storage device is the physical hardware that carries out the storage action. For instance a DVD writer is a 'storage device'.

A hard disk or a Solid State Drive are secondary storage devices.


Storage Media

Some storage devices come with removable media. For example a DVD writer burns a blank DVD. The DVD itself is an example of storage media.

Storage media is the physical object used to actually store the data.

Another storage media example is a magnetic tape cartridge. This is loaded into the magnetic tape recorder / reader (the storage device). The storage media can be removed and kept somewhere else for safe-keeping.

Some secondary storage devices do not have separate media. For example hard disks and solid state drives are self-contained. They have no external media.

Challenge see if you can find out one extra fact on this topic that we haven't already told you

Click on this link: Data storage media examples