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36/365 – Floppy Disk

A floppy disk is a disk storage medium composed of a disk of thin and flexible magnetic storage medium, sealed in a rectangular plastic carrier lined with fabric that removes dust particles. They are read and written by a floppy disk drive (FDD).



Invented by IBM, floppy disks in 3.5-inch, 5.25-inch and 8-inch forms were a ubiquitous form of data storage and exchange from the mid-1970s to the 2000s.

While floppy disk drives still have some limited uses, especially with legacy industrial computer equipment, they have been superseded by data storage methods with much greater capacity, such as USB flash drives, portable external hard disk drives, optical discs, memory cards, and computer networks.

The earliest floppy disks, invented in the late 1960s, were 8 inches in diameter; they became commercially available in 1971. These disks and associated drives were produced and improved upon by IBM and other companies such as Memorex, Shugart Associates, and Burroughs Corporation. The term “floppy disk” appeared in print as early as 1970, and although in 1973 IBM announced its first media as “Type 1 Diskette” the industry continued to use the terms “floppy disk” or “floppy”.


Types of Floppy Disks

  • 5.25 Inch Floppy Disk are not commonly found anymore. They are used by older computers
  • 3.5 Inch Floppy Disk are the most commonly used disk. It is encased in a hard plastic square case that cannot be opened. Information is magnetically recorded onto this thin flexible round disk.


Floppy Capacity

Floppies can be found in two storage capacities. They are high density disks and double-density disks.

Double-Density Disks (720K capacity) store the least amount of information. They are still used, but not as common as the high density disks. It is referred to with the letters DD on the label. With only one hole at the top of the disk, it can store 720K of information.

High-Density Disks (1.44K capacity) store the most information. Having two holes at the top of the disk, it can store 1.44 MB of information. It usually has the letters HD written on it. This is the most commonly used floppy disk.


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