Update 1/18/2019 – This article has been updated with more detailed information about why hard disk drives stop spinning and what end users can do about it.
Since the invention of the gramophone, most forms of audiovisual recording and data storage have relied on making things spin. Hard disk drives are no different. When IBM invented the first hard drive, a stack of disks coated with magnetic paint spun at 1,200 revolutions per minute. These disks had a total storage capacity of five megabytes and were roughly the size and shape of vinyl records. The hard drive itself was about the size of a refrigerator and had to be moved with a forklift. Today, a hard drive can hold over a terabyte of data on a single 3.5-inch hard disk platter. The platters in your typical hard drive spin at 5,400 to 7,200 RPM.