Hard Drive Basics

Storage is critical to all media editing and I’ve written a lot about it. So much so, that it is hard to find where to start and which articles are important to read. To help, I’ve collected the important ones here and added short descriptions. Read the first four articles before you spend more money on storage.

NOTE: These articles are not product reviews. They explain storage technology so that you can make more informed purchases – or improve the performance of your system – without wasting money.


Start here. This article provides basic definitions on hard disks and RAIDS.

Understanding Video Data Rates

Here’s a discussion on all the other factors that impact the speed/performance of your hard drive.

Why Hard Drive Speed Isn’t Everything


RAIDs are described using levels: RAID Level 0, RAID Level 1, and so on. This short article explains what those levels mean and which ones you should avoid when working with media.

An Explanation of RAID Levels

In this article, I go into more details on hard disk performance and the fact that, just because a device calls itself a RAID does not make it incredibly fast.

Understanding RAIDs and Performance


Long-Term Storage on unplugged hard drives can be dangerous, as this article explains.

Hard Disk Warning!

And here’s a utility that can help solve this problem.

A Free Utility to Refresh Hard Drives

A Alternative Solution for the Technically Minded


Archiving – the process of storing media for decades – is a real problem at this point. There are no inexpensive options that are reliable. Here are a few articles to explain the problem and offer a solution.

How Long Does Video Tape Last?

How Long Do DVDs Last?

Organizing and Archiving FCP 7 Projects

In Search of A Backup Strategy

I am a big fan of using LTO tape for long-term storage; if you can afford it. In this article, reader Sal Guarnisco writes up his experiences in configuring LTO-5 tape for less than $3,000.

Reader Mail: Archive to LTO

I hope this collection of articles helps you to understand storage better. As always, let me know if you have questions.


2 Responses to Hard Drive Basics

  1. rand says:

    Thanks for the heads up.
    So if simply reading the files helps keep them fresh
    can one simply use DiskWarriors ‘Check All Files & Folders’ function?

    • Larry says:


      If DiskWarrior reads every sector of this disk while doing this, it will work. However, I’m not sure it does. Best to ask Alsoft.


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