What is Floppy Disk? Advantages and Disadvantages of Floppy disk

Hello friends, in today’s article we are going to talking about Floppy Disk.

Today we will learn in detail about what is a floppy disk? How many types of Floppy Disk? And what are the advantages and disadvantages of Floppy disk

So without wasting time let’s first understand what is Floppy Disk?

Floppy Disk
Floppy Disk

What is Floppy Disk?

A floppy disk is a secondary storage device also known as a floppy diskette, floppy, or floppy disk drive.

It is used to store electronic data (such as computer files) in computers.

It was a primary removable storage medium used in computers, which could be easily removed from the computer if needed. It is also called mini disk.

History of Floppy Disk

This is an expensive Secondary Storage Device which was made by IBM in 1967, it was a portable storage device that used to read/write in computers.

This was the first hardware storage device made by IBM, which was made by IBM as an alternative to hard drives because hard drives are very expensive at that time, so IBM made Floppy Disk as an alternative to it.

When it was first invented, users were not able to write data like CD-ROM.

Its size was 8 inches, which could store only up to 80KB of data, although in later versions, up to 800KB of data could be stored.

As technology began to develop, the size of the floppy disk also decreased. There are 3 types of floppy disk sizes – 8 inches, 5.5 inches, and 3.5 inches.

Each new version of the floppy disk was able to store more data than its older version.

After the 8-inch version of the floppy disk, the new 5.5-inch version came, we could store up to 360KB of data, although later on the 5.5-inch floppy disk we were able to store up to 1.2MB of data.

The 5.5-inch version of the floppy disk was invented in 1978 and was used as a storage device on desktop PCs of the time, such as the Apple IIe.

In 1987, the 3.5-inch HD version of the floppy disk was introduced, in which we could store up to 1.44MB of data.

This version of the floppy disk was much more portable and durable than its older version. It was used in the backup of personal data and distribution of commercial software.

This 3.5-inch version of the floppy disk was used as a standard for the next decade.

Diagram of Floppy Disk

A floppy disk is a thin, round, plastic device with a thin coating of a layer of ferric oxide or magnetic oxide.

The read-write head of the floppy disk works by changing the magnetic particles to store the data on the disk.

Floppy disks are organized in the form of tracks, each track has sectors and each sector is divided into bytes in which the data is stored.

Each side of a 3.5″ inch floppy disk has 80 tracks and each track consists of 18 sectors consisting of 512 bytes so that the data storage capacity of a 3.5-inch floppy disk is 1.44 MB.

What is Floppy Disk? Advantages and Disadvantages of Floppy disk

The biggest feature of Floppy Disks was that they could be easily removed from the device, so it was used for distributing software, transferring data and files from one computer to another, and as a backup from hard disk.

But floppy disk is slow compared to hard disk and only a small amount of information can be stored in it.

Components of Floppy disk

Over time we were able to read/write data in floppy disk. At that time the following components were present in the floppy disk.

  • read/write head
  • circuit board
  • Drive motor

The read/write head is used to read and write data on both sides of the disk.

How were floppy disks used?

In early times, floppy disks were used to install backup storage devices and programs in computers because CD-ROM drives, USB-like devices were not there at that time.

Up to 1.44 MB of programs could be stored in a floppy disk, many floppy disks were used to store more data than this.

However, floppy disks began to be replaced by CD-ROMs in the late 1990s.

CDs or USB flash drives were gradually being used by people instead of floppy disks for backup and for distributing software.

Types of Floppy Disk

Floppy disks of different sizes came into the market, which disappeared from the market due to not being used over time.

  1. 8-inch Drive
  2. 5 -Inch Drive
  3. 3 -Inch Drive
  4. Zip Drive

#1. 8-inch Drive

8-inch floppy disks came in the 1970s that could only be read. However, later versions of 8-inch floppy disks could both read/write data.

#2. 5-Inch Drive

5.25-inch floppy disk drives began to be manufactured in 1976, and the first version was released in 1978 with a storage capacity of 160 KB, which was later increased from 360kb to 1.2 MB.

These floppy diskettes were generally widely used in PCs in the 1980s and ceased to be used in the early 1990s.

#3. 3-Inch Drive

The 3.5″ inch floppy disk was created by IBM in 1984, with an initial data storage capacity of 720 KB, which later increased to 1.44 MB. Floppy disks with 1.44 MB of storage capacity were mostly used in the 1990s.

#4. Zip Drive

In the mid-1990s, zip drives arrived that were made by Iomega Corporation. The use of zip drives was very limited because they were expensive, they did not become very popular due to its expensive.

Advantages of Floppy Disks

The storage capacity of floppy disks is very less, in this we cannot store high-resolution photos, music, videos, etc. However, despite these deficiencies of floppy disk, it also had some advantages which are as follows -:

  1. Portability
  2. Compatibility
  3. Small
  4. Easy to carry
  5. Cheap
  6. Random Access

#1. Portability

One of the biggest advantages of floppy disks was that they were portable. 3.5-inch floppy disks were smaller than CDs. They did not require much space.

A floppy disk is a device made of a thin coating of ferric oxide or magnetic oxide on plastic to make it stronger.

Compared to CDs and DVDs, the disc is less likely to be scratched because it is surrounded by covers.

Its small size makes it quite portable. Through this, the user can easily move small size files from one place to another.

#2. Compatibility

Older computers were not compatible with any other storage device, they were only compatible with floppy disks. In the computers of the 1990s, the floppy disk was the only option to transfer data and files.

#3. Small

Floppy disks are a lightweight and small size storage device. Their storage capacity was also less, so they were very useful for transferring small size files.

#4. Easy to carry

Since they are small in size, they can be easily carried from one place to another and they were also very easy to handle.

#5. Cheap

Floppy disks were much cheaper than the storage devices of that time.

#6. Random access method

The data stored in the floppy disk can be accessed in random order.

Disadvantages of Floppy Disks

Floppy disk has the following weaknesses

  1. Speed
  2. Storage Space
  3. Reliability
  4. Physical Damages
  5. Not in use

#1. Speed

Floppy disk is a slow storage device in which the data transfer rate is very low. When the data stored in the floppy disk is transferred to the computer or the data stored in the computer is transferred to the floppy disk, then it takes a lot of time.

#2. Storage Space

The storage capacity of the floppy disk is very less, in which we can store a very small amount of data.

The storage capacity of the floppy disk was much less than the storage devices used in today’s modern computers.

#3. Reliability

Due to the heat and magnetic fields in the floppy disk, the file can be corrupted, which is the biggest disadvantage of the floppy disk.

Floppy disks provide less security than other storage devices, there is a risk of computer viruses, which also causes the files to become corrupt.

It is not a reliable storage device like a hard disk.

#4. Physical Damages

Plastic casings were used to make floppy disks, making them very delicate and flexible. If someone grabs it without proper care, it can break easily.

#5. Not in use

These days, all the computers that are coming in the market do not have space for floppy disk, so the use of floppy disk is almost over.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Question

Q1. Who invented the floppy disk?

The floppy disk was created in 1967 by Alan Shugart at IBM. The size of this early floppy disk was 8 inches, which was made by IBM as an alternative to hard drives.

Q2. What is the floppy disk storage capacity?

The storage capacity of 8-inch floppy disk was 80KB then its later versions like – 5.5 inch floppy disk had 1.2MB storage capacity and 3.5-inch floppy disk had 1.44MB storage capacity which came in 1987.

Q3. Are floppy diskettes still used today?

There is no use of floppy disk in the present time because all the computers that are coming in the market today do not have space for floppy disk, so the use of floppy disk is almost over.

Q4. Types of floppy disks

There are the following types of floppy disk – 8-inch Drive, 5 -Inch Drive, 3 -Inch Drive, Zip Drive



Friends, I hope that after reading this article you will get all information about, what is a floppy disk? How many types of floppy disk? and what are the advantages and disadvantages of floppy disk.

If you want Complete Tutorial of Computer Fundamentals then see this article Computer Fundamentals Tutorial | Here you will get all the topics of Computer Fundamentals step by step.

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Jeetu Sahu is A Web Developer | Computer Engineer | Passionate about Coding, Competitive Programming, and Blogging

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