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landing zone

A safe non-data area on a hard disk used for parking the read/write head. See load/unload ramp.

load/unload ramp

A small ramp in a disk drive that the read/write head moves to when the drive is turned off. Located off the edge of the platters or in the middle, these ramps were first used with laptop drives to withstand shock and later migrated to desktop drives.

The earlier constant start-stop (CSS) method parked the head in a textured landing zone. The textured area prevented the read/write head from sticking (see stiction) but required the head to fly higher above the platter to avoid the rougher surface. The subsequent ramp load method enabled greater areal density by allowing the head to fly lower over the surface.

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