Floppy Drives And Their History
In the past, floppy drives were among the most important part of computer data storage and led the way for many years. They first came to market in the late 1960s when Alan Shugart led the team of IBM engineers and created the first floppy disk drive. The first floppy disk drives had the size of large washing machines and used 8-inch floppy disks. This tech was not reliable and had to be shrunken down to fit old domestic computers. These gigantic drives were encased in a plastic shell that had a circular opening to insert the disk. This feature led the drives to be named “ floppy drives”.
The 8-inch drives were a significant upgrade over the traditional bulky hard drives that came at the time. But soon with the increasing market demand from the domestic computer industry the floppy drives evolved and the new 5.25-inch floppy drive arrived.
How Does A floppy Drive Work
Simply speaking, the floppy drive uses a small magnetic coil that is wound on a compact moveable arm to read and write data on the magnetic disk. When a disk is inserted into computer-compatible floppy drives, the arm moves in a perpendicular position to the disk and uses a magnetic field to read/write data that is encoded on the surface of the disk.
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Types of Reliable Floppy Drives
At the most basic level, the drives can be classified into two major types: Internal and external floppy drives. Apart from this, floppy drives can also be classified based on their form factors. In the old days, the following types of form factors were the most common:
8-inch floppy drive: These are the oldest and most basic types of reliable floppy drives and have a size of a washing machine. The 8-inch drives had a very low data storage capacity of just 80 KBs.
5.25-inch floppy drive: These were among the most popular types of floppy drive replacements and had varying storage capacities of 160 KB, 360 KB, and 1.2 MB.
3.5-inch floppy drive: The 3.5-inch floppy drives were used mostly in desktop computers and originated in the late 1980s. They had a significantly higher storage capacity of 720 KB, 1.44 MB, or 2.88 MB.