Generally speaking, a rigid computer storage medium; a term once used to distinguish it from a floppy disk. In current use, the term hard disk commonly refers to any high-capacity rigid magnetic storage medium, distinguished by rapid speed and low access time, as well as large data capacity, measured in either megabytes or, increasingly, gigabytes. Essentially, a hard disk contains a series of magnetized, aluminum platters, each of which contains its own read/write head. Hard disks are usually internally-mounted within the computer, and most desktop systems these days have at least one internal hard disk. Hard disks can also be attached externally as peripherals. The hard disk as we know it today was developed by IBM and originally called a Winchester disk, a name by which it still occasionally goes.