There is a massive difference between our thinking of memory that is stored on a computer and our own memory. It is almost a total paradigm shift and really shouldn’t be called by the same name. Memory that exists in your computer is only medium for storage, a place where information is put in electrical form. Although the neurons with the brain are have a role in electrical storage, your memory is not the same thing at all. To compare the two things makes your memories seem incomplete.
If you recall a place, a face, you see the whole thing don’t you? When you picture something in your mind you are looking at a kind of photograph of it aren’t you?
If we were to think of how a picture would be put onto a computer we would think about all the little bits of information being stored. This information would be stored in such a way that details of every part of that image would be kept. Each bit would be organised in such a way that the image could be reproduced fully when we need to bring it back. You would see the image exactly as it had been stored.
Think about something familiar that you see almost every day, take a coin as an example; although you could try this with anything you are absolutely sure you are completely familiar with. If you have a coin with you, then that will be better, take a good look at it and be satisfied that you can remember what it look like. Remember this is something familiar to you and you know what it looks like. See it in your mind and be absolutely sure you can reproduce it when necessary.
Put it away for a while and a few minutes later try to visualise it again and get out a pencil and paper and draw what you see.
How accurate was your memory of the coin? Did you get all the details of the image? Did you remember any wording on the coin? Did you put them in the right place on the coin? How much was missing?
You didn’t store it as an image did you? You stored information about it in a way that that gave you some idea of how to reproduce it but in most people this information will be lacking a lot of details. The more familiar something is to you apparently the less likely you are to remember the actual details of it.
These memories that we store are not images at all. We do not have photographs in our head of things that we have seen. It all works in a completely different way. However, when we picture something in our mind we think we are looking at a picture, an image, but we are not, it is only information about the picture we are seeing. We work in a totally different way to the computers we use and remember the world about us by connections, relationships and relative concepts.