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An internal hard drive is the primary storage device located inside a computer system. It usually contains pre-installed software applications, the operating system and other files. Most desktop computers have several internal hard drives, allowing them to provide greater data storage. On the other hand, laptop computers can only accommodate one internal hard drive, forcing the user to add an external storage device to store data that exceeds the laptop’s internal capacity.
An internal hard drive makes use of two ports: one for data and the other for power. The data port uses either a Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) or an Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) interface, which connects to the computer’s hard drive, enabling communication with the motherboard. The power port is connected by a cable, which carries the power the hard drive needs from the computer's power supply.
Because the internal hard drive contains all the computer's vital applications and the user's personal files, if this component is corrupted or damaged, those files may be irretrievable. As such, it is important to back up files using an online back-up service or external storage device.