A round piece of flexible plastic film coated with ferric oxide particles that can hold a magnetic field. When placed inside a disk drive, the floppy disk rotates to bring different areas, or sectors, of the disk surface under the drive’s read/write head, which can detect and alter the orientation of the particles’ magnetic fields to represent binary 1s and 0s. A floppy disk 5.25 inches in diameter is encased in a flexible plastic jacket and has a large hole in the center, which fits around a spindle in the disk drive; such a disk can hold from a few hundred thousand to over one million bytes of data. A 3.5-inch disk encased in rigid plastic is also called a floppy disk or a microfloppy disk. In addition, 8-inch floppy disks were common in DEC and other minicomputer systems. See also microfloppy disk.
A small, flexible disk carrying a magnetic medium in which digital data is stored for later retrieval and use.
In computing, a storage device consisting of a light, flexible disk enclosed in a cardboard or plastic jacket. The disk is placed in a disk drive, where it rotates at high speed. Data are recorded magnetically on one or both surfaces.
Floppy disks were invented by IBM in 1971 as a means of loading programs into the computer. They were originally 8 in/20 cm in diameter and typically held about 240 kilobytes of data. Present-day floppy disks, widely used on microcomputers, are usually either 5.25 in/13.13 cm or 3.5 in/8.8 cm in diameter, and generally hold 0.5–2 megabytes, depending on the disk size, recording method, and whether one or both sides are used.