What Are Primary Storage and Secondary Storage?

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Storage components that are used in or with a computer can be classified as primary or secondary, depending on how accessible they are by the computer's CPU. Definitions for primary and secondary storage can change depending on scope. For example, an internal hard drive is considered primary storage when looking at the computer as a whole, but with a narrower scope, an internal hard drive is secondary storage to random access memory, or RAM.

The most accessible storage in the majority of computers is RAM, which makes it a form of primary storage.. Computers also have internal hard drive, which can be a primary or secondary storage component. Finally, external hard drives are typically considered secondary storage components as well.