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Tracks and Sectors
Platters are organized into specific structures to enable the organized storage and retrieval of data. Each platter is broken into tracks--tens of thousands of them--which are tightly-packed concentric circles. These are similar in structure to the annual rings of a tree (but not similar to the grooves in a vinyl record album, which form a connected spiral and not concentric rings).
A track holds too much information to be suitable as the smallest unit of storage on a disk, so each one is further broken down into sectors. A sector is normally the smallest individually-addressable unit of information stored on a hard disk, and normally holds 512 bytes of information. The first PC hard disks typically held 17 sectors per track. Today's hard disks can have thousands of sectors in a single track, and make use of zoned recording to allow more sectors on the larger outer tracks of the disk.
A detailed examination of tracks and sectors leads into a larger discussion of disk geometry, encoding methods, formatting and other topics. Full coverage of hard disk tracks and sectors can be found here, with detail on sectors specifically here.
Next: Areal Density