Operating and Storage Drives Explained

Explains why having two storage drives instead of one is better.

Operating storage also known as primary storage is the storage drive that holds your operating system, software and user profiles. This storage’s purpose is for operations. The operating drive is always active and wears out gradually over time due to its constant activity. The operating drive needs little storage capacity as the operating system and installed software do not require much space. The speed of the operating drive is important to the overall speed of the computer, this greatly effects the computer’s startup time, response time, and how quickly applications load.

The storage drive also known as secondary storage is a second storage drive dedicated to data, personal files, documents, media, backups, and games. This drive is less active, larger, and often slower than the operating drive. When the operating drive failures, the storage drive is safe and independent thus keeping your files unharmed.

Benefits of two drives:

  • Can divide input/output tasks to improve performance.
  • Faster to backup and restore.
  • Highest chance of data retrieval.
  • Easier to replace or upgrade.

Spiting a single drive.

If your computer has a large single drive, it is best to divide the drive in two. Some computer manufacturers are already doing this to their computers. Although dividing the drive will not provide any performance gain, doing so increases your chance of data retrieval if your drive fails. Dividing your drive also protects your files from accidental deletion or disk formatting. Often when people try to fix their own computer, they often reformat their drive unknowingly deleting their files. Splitting the drive will often protect from reformatting. When a drive fails, only an area of the drive is damaged preventing the entry drive from being accessed, but if the drive is divided we can access the area not affected.

Why the operating storage should be small.

The operating storage should be intentionally small because the drive is reserved for system operations and software which do not require much space. Because the operating storage is so small, we can do a full disk copy or restore in a small amount of time, as well as testing. Since handling a smaller drive is more efficient, it is ultimately more cost effective.

Why you shouldn’t RAID the operating storage.

Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) can be very tempting, especially now that it’s common with many higher end computers. There are two big reasons that you may want RAID, one for super speed, two for fault protection. Theses are great reasons, however, they can create more problems than they’re worth. Common RAID is software dependent. Software RAID requires proprietary software to access the RAID volume, without it we cannot access the drives. Because the disks are not accessible, we are not able to provide testing, data recovery, full disk backup, restores, etc. RAID basically makes the drive inaccessible. RAID is alright for the storage drive because once the operating drive is restored, the storage drive is accessible again.