A floppy disk is a type of magnetic storage medium that is used to store and transfer data in computer systems. Floppy disks are popular in the 70s and 80s of the last century, when they are one of the main methods for archiving and distributing software.
The first floppy disks are created in 1971 by IBM and have a size of 8 inches (20.3 cm) and a capacity of 80 KB. They are designed for use in large computer systems and are quite expensive and inconvenient. In 1976 IBM develops a smaller format of floppy disk – 5.25 inches (13.3 cm) and a capacity of 110 KB. This format becomes the standard for personal computers and evolves over the years to reach a capacity of 1.2 MB in 1984.
In 1981 Sony introduces a new format of floppy disk – 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) and a capacity of 360 KB. This format has the advantage of being smaller, stronger and having a built-in protective cover. Sony increases the capacity of floppy disks to 720 KB in 1983 and to 1.44 MB in 1986. This becomes the most common format of floppy disks in the world and remains so until the end of the 90s.
In the 90s floppy disks start to lose popularity due to the emergence of new technologies for data storage, such as CD-ROM, CD-RW, DVD, USB flash memory and others. These technologies offer larger capacity, faster transfer, better reliability and lower price. Floppy disks remain in use only for some specific applications, such as booting computers, updating BIOS or working with old hardware.