What is a Sector?

What is a Sector?

A sector is the single smallest unit of data that can be address by a computer, and as “standard” is 512 bytes long.

This does not mean that a computer can not read a single byte – the fact that you can type disproves this – but this is the smallest unit of data that be read in at a time.

A standard hard drive  is a SCSI, S-ATA, or IDE, and it be on a Apple Mac or PC  it makes no difference, as long as its nothing to do with IBM AS400!

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.

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3 Responses to “What is a Sector?”

  1. Forensics: Deleting and Wiping Data « Data - Where is it? Says:

    […] common myth on the internet. The term “to wipe a drive” means overwrite every single sector on a modern hard drive with another character often FF, or it can be a random character sequence.If […]

  2. How many bytes in a sector? « Data - Where is it? Says:

    […] How many bytes in a sector? Posted on April 19, 2009 by Rob On a standard hard drive, there are 512 bytes in a sector. […]

  3. What is File Slack « Data - Where is it? Says:

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


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