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How does the OS interact with persistent storage devices?

The operating system interacts with persistent storage devices through the file system and device drivers.

The operating system (OS) is the intermediary between the user and the computer hardware, including persistent storage devices such as hard drives, solid-state drives, and flash drives. The OS manages these devices and provides a way for other software, like applications, to interact with them. This is done through a component of the OS known as the file system.

The file system is responsible for organising and managing data on storage devices. It determines how data is stored and retrieved, providing a logical structure to the data. When a user or application wants to read or write data, they interact with the file system rather than directly with the storage device. The file system translates these requests into a series of instructions that the storage device can understand. This abstraction allows users and applications to work with files and directories without needing to know the specifics of how the data is physically stored.

The OS also interacts with storage devices through device drivers. A device driver is a type of software that controls a specific piece of hardware. The driver for a storage device understands the specific commands that the device can accept and how to communicate with it. When the file system needs to read or write data, it sends a request to the device driver. The driver then translates this request into a form that the device can understand and sends it to the device. The device performs the requested operation and sends the result back to the driver, which then passes it back to the file system.

In addition to managing data storage and retrieval, the OS also monitors the status of storage devices. It can detect when a device is running low on space and alert the user, or when a device is failing and needs to be replaced. It also manages access to storage devices, ensuring that only authorised users and applications can read or write data. This is crucial for maintaining the security and integrity of the data on the device.

In summary, the OS interacts with persistent storage devices through the file system and device drivers, managing data storage and retrieval, monitoring device status, and controlling access to the device.

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