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Floppy Disk Data Storage Technology

The History of Data Storage Technology – Part 4

Data Storage Technology (1971)


Floppy disks were the standard form of data storage from 1971 – 2000. For nearly 30 years these diskette’s, as they were also known, were installed on most pcs and used to read and write data.

The floppy disk was made up of a magnetic storage medium enclosed in a fabric lined plastic case. The original disks entered the market in 1971 and came in an 8 inch (200 mm) diameter. Notable companies that produced these disks included IBM, Memorex, and Shugart Associates.

The three common disk sizes produced were the 8-inch, 5¼-inch and the 3½-inch floppy disk. Data storage capacity over the years varied:


8-inch: Memorex 650 1972 175 kb
5¼-inch DD 1978 up to 800 kb
3½-inch HP single sided 1982 280 kb
3½-inch HD 1987 1440 kb
3½-inch Superdisk (LS-240) 1997 240 MB


By today’s standards, floppy disk capacities are laughable, yet they worked well in the 80s and 90s as the most common means of distributing software and creating backups. In fact, floppy disks were often used to store computer operating systems, as hard drives were still expensive.

Of course as with all technology, eventually something better comes along. Thus, as software packages increased in size and data generation increased, the need for higher capacity storage meant the floppy could no longer keep up. Still, it was by no means a swift replacement and it was only in 2007 that Hewlett-Packard (HP) stopped supplying desktop computers with a floppy drive.

Data Storage Technology and Iron Mountain

As one of South Africa’s leading Records and Information Management companies, Iron Mountain utilises only state of the art technology – no floppy disks here. From our hi-tech security systems to our data storage vaults, you can rest assured that your data will be safe with us.


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Sources/Further Reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floppy_disk

Image Credit: “Floppy Disk Drive 8 inch” by Swtpc6800 en:User:Swtpc6800 Michael Holley – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Floppy_Disk_Drive_8_inch.jpg#/media/File:Floppy_Disk_Drive_8_inch.jpg