What Is a Logical Disk?

Alex Newth

A logical disk is a type of computer storage method in which the memory is partitioned to create a separate disk of allocated memory. Contrasted by physical memory, or a physical device that can be touched, logical memory is separated into several sections to allow users to store information in these individual units. This is done because using all the computer memory for a single drive is typically impractical and makes it difficult for the user to organize information. Advanced users can install entirely different operating systems (OS) on the logical drive to increase the computer’s functionality.

A hard drive is formatted into smaller portions referred to as partitions, otherwise known as logical disks.
A hard drive is formatted into smaller portions referred to as partitions, otherwise known as logical disks.

When a computer user first gets a physical storage device, such as a hard drive, it arrives unformatted. This means the memory is one large unit and has no drive separations. After the user installs the new storage device, the computer will partition the data into different drives, such as a C:\ drive, where most data are stored, and similar drives.

A physical device can include many logical disk partitions. The amount of memory that is stored on a partition, and the amount of logical disks, are not limited by anything except the amount of memory on the storage device. While there is technically no minimum amount of memory needed for a logical disk, the common default is 2 gigabytes (GB), because this is the minimum amount of memory needed for system functions.

Both common and advanced users often experience the benefits of a logical disk. On the common side, it permits a user to keep data organized between different facets, such as home and work. This also allows the user to keep files that are not compatible with each other in different drives.

On the advanced side, a logical disk can be used to store an entirely different OS on the logical disk. For example, if the user is running the Macintosh® OS, a Windows® OS can be installed on another logical partition. This allows the user to run a wider range of programs and to experience the benefits of both operating systems on the same computer.

Another benefit associated with using logical disk architecture is memory stability. When computer memory is branded under one disk, the tendency for corruption and memory fragmentation exponentially increases. If the computer is composed of sections, this keeps the memory from experiencing these problems. Data also are more secure, because administrators can keep users from accessing the information in the other logical disks, unless they achieve a higher access level.

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