Professor explains how much crap (data) is on the average person’s computer


Purdue University professor Vladimir Shalaev explained during a speech at the International Conference for Quantum Technologies in Moscow that as our society quickly evolves more and more into an information-based one, people are beginning to need an increased amount of hard drive space to store their “digital lives.”

In other words, we’re storing more stuff on our computers at an alarmingly growing rate.

To compare, according to Professor Shalaev, the average person only stored around 500 megabytes in 1986, but by 2007 (six years ago!) that rate had exploded to 44.5 gigabytes — a growth rate of 8,800%. And these days, even 44.5 GB isn’t considered a lot of space.

However, most people aren’t actually housing all of that data themselves, and instead use cloud-based services (such as Gmail, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.) to do it for them, which adds a burden to those companies tasked with keeping track of data for millions-to-billions of users.

So. How much “junk” do you have? Let us know in the comments below!

[via Business Insider]

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  • Mr.Dave

    [@Reza] I think I would have a hard time hanging price tags on all my files. Maybe I could set a standard price and sell them all for $0.50 each? (seems like a good Garage Sale price). It would have to be a random selection. Some might get a nice pic or a good tune or maybe a funny video. Others might get a pdf that explains how to use a remote I lost 12 years ago, or directions to concert that happened 1o years back, or a link to an old DotTech article. Buyer beware!

  • CJCotter

    I don’t do clouds. Don’t trust them. I have 277GB of “treasured documents” on a 1TB external storage drive.

    But junk? How dare you insult me! I agree with AFPhy6, above.

  • Reza

    THE PREFESSOR is absolutely wright.
    It reminds me of my garage. If I go to my garage there are some stuff that I have not seen or touches (used) if more than 10 years. that’s why people put garage sales to get rid of “junk”. If I only speak of myself, I have probably more than 70 apps and thousand of pictures I collected from Facebook or where ever I saw a nice photo. some of the apps I have got them because mostly were free ( give away of the day) in hope of maybe someday I need it ect…
    I use my music files how ever. I 100% agree whith this study and I thinks I represent millions of other people with their Pc’s. Maybe someday I will have a garage sale on my PC.

  • Ashraf

    [@Ian] I think when talking about 500MB in 1986, the professor meant people who used computers at that time and most people who used computers at that time didn’t have personal computers but rather mainframe for research and such… computers that had larger HDDs than the 200MB drives for personal computers you reference.

  • Ian

    1986 500mb, I would bet this is more like 5mb or even 50mb but not 500mb. 200mb hard drives didn’t come out until the end of the 80s.

  • Horrabin

    Probably 3/4 of it. Every time I install a new drive I leave the old one in place as a backup to be sure the new one’s OK but generally never get around to cleaning out old Windows installations, duplicate downloads, etc. At least now I have a lot of backed up movies, downloads, images, and other stuff on my 5TB worth of drives (on my main comp, anyway). Someday I’ll go thru some of it and consolidate. Might never need another drive again after that….
    My parts closet isn’t quite as bad. Not much older than about 2004 or so. Still got a 20MB drive from somewhere still on the shelf. Monster storage, way back!

  • AFPhy6

    Junk? Me? I have no junk. It is all very valuable and I need it all.