Bit Rot

What Does Bit Rot Mean?

Bit rot is a perennial problem in IT also known as data degradation, data decay, or data rot. In general, bit rot happens when storage media or processing hardware ages through the process of gradual wear.


Techopedia Explains Bit Rot

An important thing to note is that bit rot happens, in some form or another, to nearly all media. It happens to different media in different ways. In the earliest storage media, paper punch cards, “rot” was physical. The data stored on the punch cards “rotted” as the physical cards deteriorated.

Next came magnetic tape, where “bit rot” involved loss of magnetic orientation. This applies to modern hard drives as well. Data degradation can also occur in CD or DVD media with the deterioration of the disc, and in solid state systems with the weakening of the original electrical charge in the substrate.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…