A floppy disk, also called a floppy for short, is a magnetic storage device that was originally designed to store data – especially in the 1980s and 1990s when personal computers became popular.
They’re also known as floppies due to their size and shape. Though they’ve been replaced by newer technologies, they might still be found in electronics stores or at garage sales because people often collect them as nostalgia items or for use with older software.
The term “floppy” is used because the disk’s magnetic material is encased in a flexible envelope made from polyvinyl chloride.
Typically, a floppy disk has a capacity of between 1.44 MB and 2.88MB (megabytes). The term “floppy” is also used to refer to the magnetic medium itself, which can be removed from the envelope; this was common prior to the release of the 3.5-inch floppy disks commonly used today.
A new type of removable magnetic media called an SSD (solid-state drive) uses flash memory rather than physical platters for storage.
The flexible polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or mylar envelopes that contain most floppy disks are typically light browns with rainbow edges, although there are some colored varieties as well as clear ones.
The top corners of the case or jacket are an easy way to tell if your diskette has a lower capacity. If the diskette had only one hole on the right, it was single-sided. The small plastic tab at the top right of the disk allows you to write-protect it
Double-density floppy disks were less expensive than their higher-capacity high-density counterparts, so some people in the know would buy the lower-capacity disks and then drill a hole in the top left corner to transform them into double-sided high-density discs.
In the past, floppy disks were one of many storage devices that people used. CDs can hold 600 MB and even a tiny memory stick holds several hundred times more than just two squares on each side of your old school computer!
Today people use USB sticks or external HDDs for big data storage and files transfer. Floppy disks have been replaced by portable Hard Drives and Cloud Storage.
The world is moving away from using floppy disks because laptops and computers no longer come with a Floppy Drive.