What is a kilobyte? Convert bits to kilobytes

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What is a kilobyte? Convert bits to kilobytes
What is a kilobyte? Convert bits to kilobytes

Computers are firmly entering our lives, despite the fact that even 10-15 years ago they seemed like a luxury that few people can afford. Moreover, the younger generation is better oriented in the new technology. But everyone who deals with computers is faced with certain terms that are not clear to everyone: bytes, megabytes, gigabytes, and so on. And therefore, various questions inevitably arise: what is a kilobyte, how can one convert from one unit of measure to another, and so on.


Information in our time is valued above all else, and for any modern person is a kind of weapon. It is especially valued among large global companies in various fields. This also applies to the world of computers, where information has its own units of measurement, and everyone who is interested in the technologies of the 21st century should simply know them.

What is kilobyte
What is kilobyte

The information stored on a computer is closely related mainly to the hard disk drive. Everyone who has such equipment at home sooner or later begins to be interested in how it works and what main components it consists of. On this topicyou can find many books in bookstores, for this article we will limit ourselves to a hard drive.

Hard disk - electronic information storage area

Every computer or laptop has a hard drive that is the home of all digital information. And before answering the question of what a kilobyte is, you can look inside and understand how information is stored here. Inside the device there is an electric motor, a block consisting of several disks (pancakes), above which the heads and a set of electrical circuits are located.

Typically, before there were at least 2 pancakes, that is, their total number reached 4 or more. Modern hard drives, even large capacity have 1 or 2 pancakes, although in most cases only one. This is due to the use of modern technologies for the production of hard drives, due to which it became possible to reduce the recording density. In other words, there are fewer pancakes, and more recorded information. Modern hard drives up to 2 or 3 terabytes already contain one pancake.

Bits to kilobytes
Bits to kilobytes

Now, turning to the question of what a kilobyte is, we can say the following. Each pancake of the hard drive rotates at a high speed, which is 5 or 7 thousand revolutions per minute. For server hard drives, this figure increases to 10,000. Remarkably, the heads do not touch the pancakes, but float above them, since they have a thin coating that is easy to damage.

On a hard disk, any information is recorded in blocks. And each pancake is marked into concentrictracks, each of which is divided into sectors containing no more than 512 bytes of information. A chain of consecutive sectors forms a cluster. All heads move simultaneously due to a special motor. Information is written to disks in the form of short electrical impulses that act on their ferromagnetic surface.

This is how bits are born - the smallest unit of measure. And continuing to reveal the question of what a kilobyte is, one cannot bypass it.

Basic unit - byte

In computer science, a bit is the smallest basic unit of digital information. It refers to a binary code and can only take two values: 0 and 1. The next concept - a byte - already means a whole block of information, consisting of 8 bits, and is always a multiple of 2. In some cases, this block is called an octet. Based on this, it can be understood that a byte is the smallest component of data.

How many kilobytes
How many kilobytes

But what is a kilobyte? Information on the computer is stored in different volumes, and recently the files are getting larger and larger in size. Take even RAM: if earlier it was possible to get by with 2 gigabytes, now 4 is not enough. Therefore, to measure information of large sizes, the introduction of derived units from the main quantity was adopted. That is, a kilobyte is a derivative of the base - a byte. And how many bits are in a kilobyte - the answer to this question is further.


As mentioned above, derived units are taken to indicate a reduction in the total value. They are found not only in the regioninformatics. To measure length, a meter is used, and its derivatives are kilometers, nanometers, and others. Byte derivatives are formed by adding the prefixes "kilo", "mega", "giga" and others.

The term byte was first used by Werner Buchholz back in 1956. As mentioned, an 8-bit byte is usually called an octet (Octet). There is also a 4-bit, which is called nibble (Nibble). The use of prefixes has been widespread since 1789. The very first was the prefix "kilo" and "mega".

How many kilobytes is
How many kilobytes is

Clearly, at that time computers had just begun to exist, and the amount of information was small and was calculated by these derivatives. However, since the second half of the 20th century, new prefixes “giga”, “tera” and others have appeared. And one can only guess how many kilobytes they contain - a lot!

How to translate derivatives

Information is what surrounds us, what we can see, hear, read. The computer also perceives information, but only in its own way. To do this, he has a monitor and a system unit, in which the hard drive is stored. Every year the volume of information increases many times over, and ordinary users, one way or another, have to face the need to convert one unit of its measurement to another. To clarify everything, let's summarize everything in the table below.





Russian International Ten. System Binary System Bytes
1 Byte B B




2 Kilobyte cb kB



3 Megabyte MB MB



1 048 576
4 Gigabyte GB GB



1 073 741 824
5 Terabyte TB TB



1 099 511 627 776
6 Petabyte PB PB



1 125 899 906 842 624

Thus, it can be seen that 1 kB contains 1024 bytes. The same can be said about other derivatives. It's possibleresult in this form:

  • 1 kilobyte=1024 bytes;
  • 1 megabyte=1024 kilobytes;
  • 1 gigabyte=1024 megabytes;
  • 1 terabyte=1024 gigabytes;
  • 1 petabyte=1024 terabytes (and so on).
How many bits in a kilobyte
How many bits in a kilobyte

Only bits to kilobytes are translated a little differently. Here it is worth considering that there are 8 bits in one byte. This was mentioned above. For example, we have a value equal to 128 bits, and we need to convert it to bytes. Using this rule, you need to divide the number of bits by 8. That is, when dividing 128 by 8, we have the answer equal to 16.

From the table above, you can understand that the computer for the most part perceives and transmits all information in its own language, which is understandable only to it. It is no coincidence that in computer science there is such an area as programming. Its specialists write programs in the language of a computer, and this is mainly a binary system of calculus. Although programming also uses the hexadecimal number system.

From kilobytes to megabytes and so on

It is clear that it is not difficult to convert bits to kilobytes, but there are other cases. Some users confuse such derivatives as megabytes, gigabytes and terabytes. Mainly the latter appeared due to the fact that the files have now become large. However, in order not to get confused, you can be guided by the table above.

How to convert to kilobytes
How to convert to kilobytes

In fact, all digital information is presented on a computer in different ways:

  • digital documents (official electronicdocumentation, books, magazines, etc.);
  • images (drawings, photographs);
  • musical works (there are many formats MP3, WAV, WMA AAC FLAC and others);
  • video (clips, movies, shorts).

At the same time, each type of information is characterized by its volume depending on the quality. For example, electronic documents usually have the smallest size, which is estimated at several tens of kilobytes. In some cases, it can be several megabytes. These are e-books, magazines (we already know how many kilobytes one megabyte contains).

Images typically take up several hundred kilobytes on your hard drive. It all depends on the image format, which, in turn, has several dozen types.

As for the video, here we are usually talking about a volume of several gigabytes and also depends on the format. Movies take up the most space, especially if they contain a colorful visual component. The size can be up to 40, 50 or more gigabytes.

Data rate

Often ordinary users come across such terms as kilobit, megabit (Mbit) and others. This refers to the speed of data transfer over the Internet. It is often measured in kbps or Mbps. And if a byte is used to indicate the size of any files, then a bit is used to measure the speed, and it often becomes necessary to find out how many kilobytes are, for example, 1 Mbit.

How many kilobytes contains
How many kilobytes contains

To do this, you can proceed from the following:

  • 1 kbps=1000 or 103 bps;
  • 1 Mbps=1000000 or 106 bits per second.

You can convert values from Mbit to megabyte by dividing by 8. That is, 1 Mbps will be 0.125 MB/s.

Translation tools

Everyone who has a computer faces the need to translate units of electronic information. There are various programs for this. Some of them are free, while others will have to be paid for. Regardless of this, they allow you to easily convert from one unit to another.

And it is not necessary to download them to your computer, as there are converters that do this online. It is enough to go to the appropriate resource and enter the required value, after which the calculation will be made. Thus, it is possible to solve the question of how to convert to kilobytes from gigabytes or megabytes.

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