Floppy disk

Clear 3.5" floppy disketteAlternatively referred to as a floppy or floppy disk, a floppy diskette was originally created in 1967 by IBM to help have an alternative to buying hard drives that were extremely expensive at the time and were not thought of as something to be used with a standard computer. Below is a brief history of each of three major floppy diskettes. Today, these disks have been replaced by writable discs and USB thumb drives.

8" Disk

The first disk was introduced in 1971. The disk was 8" in diameter with a magnetic coating, enclosed in a cardboard case with the capacity of one megabyte. Conversely to hard drives, the heads touched the disk, like in a cassette or video player that wears the media down over time.

5.25" Disk

First started development in 1976 and later became a standard in 1978, these disks were first released with only 160KB of disk space. These diskettes were commonly used in 1980's and began stop being used in the early 1990's. See our 5.25" floppy diskette definition for further information, pictures, and related links.

3.5" Disk

Created by IBM in 1984, these diskettes were first introduced with a total capacity of 720KB. The 1.44MB floppy diskettes were used widely in the 1990's and were seldom found or used by 2000. See our 3.5" floppy diskette definition for further information, pictures, and related links.

Related pages

Also see: Floppy cable, Floppy drive terms, Floppy disk drive