Over the years I have been asked how much information can be stored on a floppy disc, CD or DVD.  How do you quantify the storage space on such media.

Size

Abbreviation

 

Capacity

Bit

b

1 or 0 (on or off)

Byte

B

8b = 1B

Kilobyte

KB

1024B = 1KB

Megabyte

MB

1024KB = 1MB

Approx. 870 pages of plain text

Gigabyte

GB

1024MB = 1GB

Approx. 895,000 pages of plain text

Terabyte

TB

1024GB = 1TB

Approx. 916,260,000 pages of plain text

Petabyte

PB

1024TB = 1PB

Approx. 935,250,000,000 pages of plain text

Currently with the varying different operating systems that are being used the storage of a blank Word document would vary.  For example: Windows Vista using Word 2007, a file called 1.docx was 10KB, whereas in Windows 8 using Word 2010, the same file was 14KB.  Both documents were totally blank.

So going back to the question how much can be stored on media can vary dependant on the operating system and software being used.  The table above provides a rough guide.

The computer stores information using binary code, which is 1s and 0s, so to store the letter A, the computer uses one of a few character set encoding tables, the most common is ASCII.  So the letter A (capital) the decimal number is 65 and in binary this is displayed as

64

32

16

8

4

2

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

As mentioned in the previous table 8 bits make 1 byte

The letter A (lowercase) the decimal number is 97

64

32

16

8

4

2

1

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

I hope that this has been informative and now you have some understanding about bits and bytes.

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