Main » TERM » F »

floppy disk

Floppy disk is a soft magnetic disk. It is called floppy because it flops if you wave it (at least, the 5¼-inch variety does). Unlike most hard disks, floppy disks (often called floppies or diskettes) are portable, because you can remove them from a disk drive. Disk drives for floppy disks are called floppy drives. Floppy disks are slower to access than hard disks and have less storage capacity, but they are much less expensive. And most importantly, they are portable.

Floppy Disks

Standard Sizes

Floppies come in three basic sizes:

  • 8-inch:The first floppy disk design, invented by IBM in the late 1960s and used in the early 1970s as first a read-only format and then as a read-write format. The typical desktop/laptop computer does not use the 8-inch floppy disk.
  • 5¼-inch: The common size for PCs made before 1987 and the predecessor to the 8-inch floppy disk. This type of floppy is generally capable of storing between 100K and 1.2MB (megabytes) of data. The most common sizes are 360K and 1.2MB.
  • 3½-inch: Floppy is something of a misnomer for these disks, as they are encased in a rigid envelope. Despite their small size, microfloppies have a larger storage capacity than their cousins -- from 400K to 1.4MB of data. The most common sizes for PCs are 720K (double-density) and 1.44MB (high-density). Macintoshes support disks of 400K, 800K, and 1.2MB.






  • TECH RESOURCES FROM OUR PARTNERS
    LATEST ARTICLES
    3 Free Java Courses for Beginners

    List of free online Java courses for students and IT professionals looking to enhance their skills . Read More »

    SEO Dictionary

    From keyword analysis to backlinks and Google search engine algorithm updates, our search engine optimization glossary lists 85 SEO terms you need... Read More »

    Slideshow: History of Microsoft Operating Systems

    Microsoft Windows is a family of operating systems for personal computers. In this article we look at the history of Microsoft operating... Read More »

    STUDY GUIDES
    Java Basics, Part 1

    Java is a high-level programming language. This guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of syntax, variables, data types and... Read More »

    Java Basics, Part 2

    This second Study Guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of operators, modifiers and control Structures. Read More »

    The 7 Layers of the OSI Model

    The Open System Interconnection (OSI) model defines a networking framework to implement protocols in seven layers. Use this handy guide to compare... Read More »