An earlier, reusable magnetic storage medium and drive introduced by IBM in 1971. Officially a "diskette," it was nicknamed "floppy" because the first varieties were housed in bendable jackets. In the late 1970s, the floppy was the first personal computer storage medium. Although computers with hard disks emerged in the 1980s, they had at least one floppy drive for distributing applications, backup and data transfer between machines. By the mid-1990s, the floppy gave way to the CD-ROM for software distribution, while local networks and the Internet became popular for backup and data exchange.Like Magnetic Tape
The floppy's recording surface was a circular platter of magnetically coated plastic similar to magnetic tape, except that both sides were recordable. The drive grabbed and spun the platter inside its jacket, while the read/write head contacted the surface through an opening. At 300 RPM, floppies rotated considerably slower than a hard disk, and they came to a complete stop when there was no read/write activity.Format Before Writing
Every new floppy had to be "formatted," which divided the disk into sectors (see format program
). However, by looking at the external jacket, one could not always discern the recording format. See magnetic disk
.FLOPPY TYPES Storage Capacity Highest/LowestYear Jacket Type MB/KB Creator
1986 3.5" rigid 1.44/400 Sony 1976 5.25" flexible 1.2/100 Shugart 1971 8" flexible 1.2/100 IBM.