The floppy disk drive also known as floppy or FDD is the primary removable storage medium for a personal computer. The FDD, once called a mini disk, is the primary medium for getting voluminous information into and out of a micro computer system. If you have two FDDs of different storage capacities, A: In DOS and Windows the identifier used for the first floppy disk drive; the second floppy disk is designated as drive B:.
A floppy disk, often called a diskette Drive in the PC world, is a thin, round, flat piece of Mylar. It has an extremely thin coating of ferric oxide or magnetic oxide layer that is capable of storing magnetic fields, like thick recording tape. The read-write head in a floppy disk drive stores data on the disk by altering the magnetic particles.
The large, 5.25-inch floppy disks that most PCs use are kept in a paper envelope. The smaller, 3.5-inch floppy that all Macintosh’s and some PCs use is enclosed in a rigid plastic case with a sliding metal shutter for head access.
Floppy disks retrieve information far more slowly than HDD because they rotate at lower speed (300 rpm as against 10,000+ rpm).
Data is written on to the floppy disk by the disk drive’s read/write heads as the disk rotates inside the jacket.
Because floppy disks store information magnetically, any magnet can destroy the data (information) on the disk. This means you should never allow your floppy disks near a magnetic paper clip holder, the telephone, the stereo, a portable radio, or any other electronic device-and don’t pin them to a filing cabinet with a magnet!
IBM Computer used 5.25″ inch floppy disks can contain 360 KB, while modern 3.5″ inch disks hold 1.44 Mb. Floppy disks became the main medium for software distribution during the formative years of personal computing.
In Floppy Disks, information is organized in tracks. Each track is subdivided into sectors and each sector into bytes. The smaller 3.5″ Floppy Disks use 80 tracks per side, 18 sectors per track, and 512 bytes per sector, yielding a capacity of 1.44 MB. Floppy disks first appeared in the late 1960s when IBM used them in an early minicomputer.
The advantage of the floppy disk is that it is removable, and so can be used to distribute software, to transfer data from one computer to another, or to back up files from a hard disk. But compared to a hard disk, floppy disks are also slower, offer relatively small amounts of storage, and can be easily damaged.