Much like physical objects, digital data requires storage space. The difference is that objects have a physical mass, whereas data is maintained digitally as pieces of information called binary digits or bits. It's interesting how a logical organization of binary digits (zeroes and ones) can present a website article or an image to a user, but that's another story.
What is important is that when you save a file, you are actually saving strings of code, because the information has to be translated into a language that the computer understands: binary code. For example, what you see as a capital ‘A’ in a text file, the computer will see as 0100 0001, or eight bits, which is equal to one byte. In other words, in a Notepad file each character takes up one byte of digital data, so the more text you have, the bigger the binary string is and ultimately the size of the resulting file. Pixels of an image are also represented by binary code so that the computer can understand which color information needs to be displayed in every single pixel of the image.
Data Stored on a Hard Drive
Each operating system uses a file system that defines the minimum number of bytes that can be stored in a block of data, or the size of the allocation for units or clusters. On a hard drive, file systems include a file allocation table, which include the logical address(es) of a file. When you save a Word document, the operating system will instruct the file system to check whether there are free clusters and, if there are, to allocate some of them to the file.
If the size of a file is bigger than 4096 bytes (the minimum size of a cluster), then more clusters are allocated, but this doesn't mean that the information will be stored contiguously (as in clusters that are each located adjacent to one another). That's why the file system needs to keep a table containing the logical addresses of the stored files, so it can instruct the magnetic head that reads the digital data on the physical hard drive to move to the correct physical location of the file.
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