Updated: 04/30/2020 by Computer Hope
Clear 3.5" floppy diskette

Alternatively known as a diskette, a disk is a hard or floppy round, flat, and magnetic platter capable of having information read from and written to it. The most commonly found disks with a computer are the hard disks and floppy disks (floppy diskette) shown in the picture.


When using the term "disk" or "diskette," you're referring to a floppy diskette or hard disk drive. However, when talking about an optical disc, for example, Blu-ray, CD (compact disc), or DVD (digital versatile disc), use "disc" (with a "c") and not "disk" (with a "k"). For example, saying "my movie is on that disc" is the proper usage of "disc." A rule of thumb is that a "disk" is a magnetic storage medium, and a "disc" is an optical medium.

How to read a disk

Floppy diskette

To read a floppy diskette requires that the computer has a floppy disk drive. In the past, the computer came with a floppy drive. However, this type of floppy drive is no longer supported.


You can purchase a USB (universal serial bus) floppy drive to connect externally to a modern computer and read old floppy diskettes.

Hard disk drive

See our drive page for information on reading from a hard disk drive and other drives.

Disc, Dynamic Disk, Floppy drive terms, Hard drive terms, RRD