The computer itself is the main source of information for the investigator. In the computer, information is stored on the hard disk. A hard disk drive is a device that can record magnetic data, consisting of one or more rigid discs, read / write heads and mechanical mechanisms protected by a metal casing, hermetically sealed. The storage capacity of a hard disk is normal nowadays tens or hundreds of gigabytes. A computer may have one or more hard disks of different types and capacities.
Laptop computers are computers designed to be easily moved. Because of performance reached, some users may be used as permanent workstation.
Types of portable computers are:
- transportable / smartphone
- hand (also called Pocket PCs, Palm or PDAs , personal digital assistants)
Even if they are not used permanently, portable computers are an important source of information, because they can be used for storing data, confidential as possible, to be carried off locations where security is ensured.
Lately due to technical possibilities to miniaturize computing devices, they have been integrated into small portable equipments. The best example of this is the mobile phone which has got features mini-computer. Besides the recent calls log, a modern phone can contain lists of addresses, schedules meetings, documents and notes etc. with even higher capacities than PCs a few years ago.
- the keyboard is not intended for information storage, being only an input device. However, there are some devices that can attach keyboards and can record keystroke sequences users. Although very little spread, these devices are very easily available.
- monitors are capable of storing information. in the past, due to technical limitations could cause images or text that remained on the screen for a long time, the impressions produced on CRT phosphor. Modern monitors do not show this effect.
- printers can be sources of important information. For example, laser printers allow revealing image type prints last. This technique should be used before disconnecting the printer from the mains electricity supply, which requires the presence of an expert at search. Some laser printers have a disk buffer that stores information to be printed. The capacity of such a disc is from 2 to 10 Mb. Data stored on these disks can be objectified according to a relatively simple procedure. For older models of printers that use cartridges Band (ribbon) can be reconstructed by examining the print ribbon. Assimilation analysis method is printed ribbon typewriter.