I always find the easiest way to visualize disks & partitions is to think of it like running an office. Your hard drive is like the office building. It contains all your paperwork (your data).....but you want to able to organise it, to make things easier to find.
So, you buy some filing cabinets. You can put different stuff in each one, but at least it's now all in one place. (These are your partitions). And, so that you can find individual letters from particular customers, it helps to set up some kind of system inside each cabinet to make it easy to do just that. (That's the format - ext2,3 or 4, FAT32, NTFS - for each partition).
Having the data on a storage device (hard drive, SSD, USB stick, eMMC card, SD card, whatever) means the computer knows where to go to find the stuff it needs (the data). Having it in individual filing cabinets makes it easier to locate specific data (like an operating system, or your personal files - documents, pictures, videos, stuff like that). And having some kind of filing system in place makes it possible for your machine to find any one of the hundreds of thousands of files that make up a modern system as & when it needs it!
There's nothing particularly mysterious about what goes on. Where the vast majority of people come unstuck is that they find it hard to visualize all this. You can hold a letter (a physical piece of paper) in your hand. You know what it is; you can read it, and you can understand what it's about.
You cannot hold a folder/directory/partition in your hand, and look at it. It's simply a mass of electrical binary impulses, whizzing around inside that mysterious 'box of tricks' we call a computer.....and the closest you can get to looking at it is the 2D graphical representation on your screen.
This is where it helps to picture it in terms of something you do understand.
Hope that helps!
Edited by Mike_Walsh, 13 August 2017 - 04:28 PM.
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