Webopedia on Google+Webopedia on TwitterWebopedia on FacebookTech Bytes Blog
Main » TERM » F »

floppy disk

floppy disks

)A soft magnetic disk. It is called floppy because it flops if you wave it (at least, the 5��-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 storagecapacity, but they are much less expensive. And most importantly, they are portable.

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.
  • 5��-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.
  • 3��-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
    DID YOU KNOW?
    Internet of Things Shaping IT's Future

    To make the IoT both work and pay off, IT is juggling upgrading and building app-centric networks, mapping out new data center architectures and... Read More »

    What You Don't Read Can Hurt You

    Does this sound familiar? An online service promises to help your small business cut costs, increase productivity, make your coffee and walk your... Read More »

    Who's Moving Ahead in Cloud Computing?

    The future remains, well, cloudy. But either way: Amazon, look out. Microsoft is gaining fast. Read More »

    QUICK REFERENCE
    Webopedia Polls

    The trend for the past two years has been for shoppers to spend more online during the holiday season. How do you typically shop for holiday... Read More »

    How to Create a Desktop Shortcut to a Website

    This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a desktop shortcut to a website using Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer (IE). Read More »

    Flash Data Storage Vendor Trends

    Although it is almost impossible to keep up with the pace of ongoing product releases, here are three recent highlights in the flash data storage... Read More »