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    Mass storage refers to various techniques and devices for storing large amounts of data. The earliest storage devices were punched paper cards, which were used as early as 1804 to control silk-weaving looms. Modern mass storage devices include all types of disk drives and tape drives.

    Mass storage is distinct from memory, which refers to temporary storage areas within the computer. Unlike main memory, mass storage devices retain data even when the computer is turned off.

    Examples of Mass Storage Devices (MSD)

    Common types of mass storage include the following:

    • solid-state drives (SSD)
    • hard drives
    • external hard drives
    • optical drives
    • tape drives
    • RAID storage
    • USB storage
    • flash memory cards

    Today, mass storage is measured in gigabytes (1,024 megabytes) and terabytes(1,024 gigabytes). Older mass storage technology, such as floppy drives, are measured in kilobytes (1,024 bytes), megabytes (1,024 kilobytes),

    Mass storage is sometimes called auxiliary storage.

    See the “Removable Storage Reference” in the Quick Reference section of Webopedia.