How Floppy Disk Works

The floppy disk drive ( FDD ) was invented at IBM by Alan Shugart in 1967. The first floppy drives used an 8-inch disk (later called a " diskette " as it got smaller), which evolved into the 5.25-inch disk that was used on the first IBM Personal Computer in August 1981. The 5.25-inch disk held 360 kilobytes compared to the 1.44 megabyte capacity of today's 3.5-inch diskette.

The 5.25-inch disks were dubbed " floppy " because the diskette packaging was a very flexible plastic envelope , unlike the rigid case used to hold today's 3.5-inch diskettes.

By the mid-1980s, the improved designs of the read/write heads, along with improvements in the magnetic recording media, led to the less-flexible, 3.5-inch, 1.44-megabyte (MB) capacity FDD in use today. For a few years, computers had both FDD sizes (3.5-inch and 5.25-inch). But by the mid-1990s, the 5.25-inch version had fallen out of popularity, partly because the diskette's recording surface could easily become contaminated by fingerprints through the open access area.

 

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Table of Contents:
Introduction to How a Floppy Disk Drive Works
History of the Floppy Disk Drive
Parts of a Floppy Disk Drive
Writing Data on a Floppy Disk
Floppy Disk Drive Facts