Introduction to Floppy Disk [MiniTool Wiki]

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A floppy disk can also be called as a floppy, diskette, or simply disk. It is a type of disk storage media, capable of reading data from and writing data to.

floppy disk

It is a disk storage consisting of a thin and flexible magnetic storage medium sealed in a rectangular plastic casing that is lining the fabric to remove dust particles. The floppy disk is read and written by a floppy disk drive (FDD). The most common type of floppy drive is a 3.5-inch drive, followed by a 5.25-inch drive, and other sizes.

Evolution

The first commercial floppy disks developed in the late 1960s were 8 inches (200 mm) in diameter; they were commercially sold as a component of IBM products in 1971 and then sold separately by Memorex and other companies in 1972.

The term "floppy" appeared as early as 1970. Although IBM announced in 1973 that its first medium was "Type 1 Diskette," the industry continued to use the terms "floppy" or "floppy disk".

For more than two decades, floppy disks had been the main external writable storage devices. Most computing environments before the 1990s were non-networked, and floppy disks were the main means of transmitting data between computers.

A floppy disk is used to move information between a computer, laptop, or other devices. Floppy disks will also be used by some early digital cameras, electronic instruments, and older computer game consoles. Unlike hard drives, floppy disks are handled and seen; even novice users can recognize floppy disks.

Although floppy disk drives still have some limited uses, especially for traditional industrial computer devices, they have been replaced by data storage devices with larger capacities, such as USB flash drives, portable external hard drives, optical disks, and more.

While still a component of some existing computers, a floppy disk is no longer a standard device in a new computer system.

Traditional floppy drives installed inside computer cases are becoming less available. In general, the best option for using a floppy disk on a computer without a floppy disk is to use an external floppy disk, which may be USB-based.

Considerations to Take into Account when Using a Floppy Disk

Despite the fact that floppy disks are no longer popular, floppy disks continue to play a role in some special occasions, such as the tax return system used by enterprises and institutions for many years, refreshing BIOS of some old motherboards, and even installing classical software. There is some guidance for using a floppy disk.

  • Do not touch the floppy disk surface as this may scratch the surface or leave fingerprints after touching the fingers, making the floppy disk dusty and moldy.
  • Before using a floppy disk, you should write the relevant storage content, title, etc. on the label, and then paste it on the top right of the cover. When replacing a new label, the old one should be peeled off and then replaced with a new one, so that the floppy disk is not thickened, which affects the insertion of the drive.
  • Do not use a ballpoint pen or a hard pencil when writing labels, as this will injure the surface of the floppy disk and cause errors in reading. It is best to use a soft pencil to write the label.
  • Do not use an eraser to erase the writing on the label, as the debris that falls off during wiping may enter the floppy disk, causing the floppy disk and the drive to work abnormally or even be damaged.
  • Do not press heavy objects on the floppy disk. Otherwise, the floppy disk may be deformed and cause permanent damage.
  • The floppy disk should not be exposed to direct sunlight.
  • It is not possible to bundle floppy disks with clips or rubber bands. When storing floppy disks, they must be placed in a special box to prevent damage to the enclosure or media and usually do not overlap them horizontally.
  • Do not place floppy disks near magnets, radios, televisions, motors, and transformers. Because these objects generate magnetic fields, the information on the floppy disk will be destroyed.
  • If the floppy disk is stored at high or low temperatures environment, it should be placed in the normal working environment for 5 minutes before being inserted into the drive.
  • Before you can store information with a newly purchased floppy disk, you must format it. Otherwise, the information will not be stored.
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