Hard Drive: Sector

A sector is the smallest unit of data, on a hard drive that can be accessed via a computer.

A single sector, on a standard hard drive is 512 bytes (IBM AS400 drives is a whole different issue).

While a single sector can be accessed by a computer and specific forensic tools, file systems write to “clusters”, which are a group of sectors.

The standard cluster, in a Windows NTFS, is 8 sectors – or 4 KB.

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4 Responses to “Hard Drive: Sector”

  1. Hard Drives: Cluster | ESI Says:

    […] a standard Windows PC a cluster on a hard drive is comprised of 8 sectors. It is the smallest unit that a file system can […]

  2. What is File Slack? | ESI Says:

    […] To understand File Slack, one must first understand the basic concepts of Cluster and Sectors. […]

  3. Hard Drives: Cluster « Data - Where is it? Says:

    […] – Where is it? Where is your data? Who collects, controls, and searches it? « Hard Drive: Sector New Home for Where is My Data […]

  4. Forensics: RAM Slack and File Slack « Data - Where is it? Says:

    […] slack is the slack between the end of the logical file and the rest of that sector. File Slack is the remaining sectors to the end of the cluster. To put it another way RAM slack is […]


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