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Read/Write (R/W)

Last updated: November 11, 2016

What Does Read/Write (R/W) Mean?

Read/Write (R/W) refers to devices or storage media that can be read from and written to with data. This simple designation is part of hardware production and design, as well as computing system functionality and related devices.


Techopedia Explains Read/Write (R/W)

One way to describe R/W is as an open, dual functionality, versus read-only. Examples of read-only include files or systems that are protected with a read-only attribute that prevents end users from changing them in any way. Another example is an e-reader device, where individual e-book files are generally read-only.

The R/W dichotomy represents a very basic type of computer function. Even the most primitive computers had this built-in functionality, so that users could input data, enable computer operations and access data results. Over time, this has advanced into data and hardware environments where massive data centers work with advanced data analytics tools and systems to offer R/W functionality, as well as analytics.


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