This is now!

That­wasthen… How tech­nol­ogy has changed

Computer Active (UK) - - Reviews -

Floppy disk WHAT WAS IT?

When com­put­ers first be­came af­ford­able in the 1970s, their most com­mon type of mass stor­age con­sisted of a flex­i­ble plas­tic disk, coated with mag­netic ma­te­rial, in­side a plas­tic sleeve. Th­ese were lit­er­ally floppy. Early 8in flop­pies were re­placed by 5.25in disks, for which drives were avail­able. Ini­tially stor­ing 160K, users would keep each project on a dif­fer­ent floppy. Soon, 3.5in disks in stur­dier cases with a slid­ing metal cover took over, stor­ing up to 1.44 megabytes.


The floppy disk’s var­i­ous roles have been usurped by other tech­nolo­gies. Op­er­at­ing sys­tems and files are stored on hard drives or SSDS. A typ­i­cal desk­top PC has a 1TB hard drive, equiv­a­lent to six mil­lion 160K 5.25in flop­pies. Lap­tops have smaller SSDS, but if more space is needed, you can plug in a USB stick with up to 128GB. Mi­crosd cards are used in mo­bile de­vices. Th­ese are sim­i­lar in thick­ness to a 5.25in floppy but less than a hun­dredth of the size, while stor­ing 800,000 times more.

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