Here's how old school floppy drives worked

By Shawn Knight · 18 replies
Jul 19, 2016
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  1. By the time I got into computing, 3.5-inch floppy disks were still around but their use was on the decline. I admittedly knew very little about how they worked but this 15-minute video from The 8-Bit Guy certainly changed that.

    If you’re interested in taking a further stroll down memory lane, I’d also recommend checking out their video on cassette tape drives. The channel has plenty of other cool videos as well, like this one on modding a battery backup unit or this one about using a heatsink to cool a microwave dinner.

    Found is a TechSpot feature where we share clever, funny or otherwise interesting stuff from around the web.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    "By the time I got into computing, 3.5-inch floppy disks were still around but their use was on the decline".
    By the time I got into computing, 3.5" floppy (or stiffy) disks weren't even in existence. Backups were still made on tape drives or punch cards.
    coolazeem likes this.
  3. mcborge

    mcborge TS Guru Posts: 426   +278

    I started when cassette's and 5.25 floppies ruled the roost but I had mainly tapes and a few carts for my c-64 back then and the switch to the amiga was fantastic, I had so many diskettes it was unreal. It was the amiga that introduced me to hard disks and cd roms.... those were the days.
    rpjkw11 and qking like this.
  4. BrianMontanye

    BrianMontanye TS Booster Posts: 62   +36

    I still have an old TRS-80, complete with cassette drive, sitting in boxes in my garage LOL. Floppy drives became awesome in a short time, and then faded out just as quick (thankfully). But I still remember picking up my first bundle of fresh floppies!
    rpjkw11 likes this.
  5. JetFixxxer

    JetFixxxer TS Enthusiast Posts: 43   +7

    Some aircraft still use 3.5" floppy disc to load up Navigation data and it takes about 45 minutes to load up. That's if it doesn't fail.
  6. mantissteam

    mantissteam TS Member Posts: 54   +21

    0:18 love talking about floppy di**s he doesn't care how many inches they are either,,,he loves collecting them feeling them looking at them...
  7. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,670   +1,102

    It's so weird to see teenagers and even some college students these days not even know what the save icon from the programs they use represent.
    BlueDrake likes this.
  8. qking

    qking TS Enthusiast Posts: 32   +15

    Ditto for all of this !! Good times.
  9. BlueDrake

    BlueDrake TS Evangelist Posts: 378   +112

    Don't judge a person by his.. collection. ;p
  10. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,358   +2,005

    I congratulate the reporter on this one, got every single bit (or byte) correct! Good Stuff .....
  11. Phr3d

    Phr3d TS Guru Posts: 404   +84

    Nawp, it has to be 8 inches to be a Real floppy (original colloquialism - and don't forget: She Don't luv my big 8 inch, floppy of my favorite blues)
  12. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +422

    Wasn't mentioned (for obvious reasons) but you can take floppy disks and look at the sun through them. Don't do this though, because I'm sure there are super thin ones out there and you are going to burn your retina trying. So don't be an *****. However, for those of us that have handled them and know, yeah they were good sunglasses.
  13. sbwertz

    sbwertz TS Rookie

    Started with Atari 800 then went to Kaypro CPM. Had four half height double sided floppies in the Kaypro. Didn't have a system with a hard drive until my first 8088 system.
  14. mcborge

    mcborge TS Guru Posts: 426   +278

    My first Atari was an 8088 pc3 and I got it without a hard drive, I was running dos from a 5.25 floppy before I got a 20 mb seagate st 225.
  15. bobc4012

    bobc4012 TS Enthusiast Posts: 81   +36

    No papertape backups? I remember the drums and the first removable disk drive (2 million character capacity - IBM 1311). And then there was the RAMAC 350 (6 million 6-bit characters) and the 1405 (10 million alphameric charcters) and its later counterpart the 1301 (25 million characters).
    Skidmarksdeluxe likes this.
  16. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Evangelist Posts: 574   +72

    When I got into computing it was all about tapes then I moved straight to 3.5" "floppies". p.s backups are still done on tape though I suppose they are referred to as cartridges but they are in essence tapes. We use LTO 6 which are 6.25Tb storage.
  17. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    Yeah, we used tapes (cassette tapes) as well as 8" floppy disks. Hollerith punch cards were mainly used to load some programs but died away quite quickly if I remember correctly. The 3.5" stiffy was quite a revelation for it's time.
  18. Athlonite

    Athlonite TS Enthusiast Posts: 97   +20

    HAHA 12" floppy disks was where it was at before 8" came along
  19. DAOWAce

    DAOWAce TS Booster Posts: 268   +39

    I stare at the sun all the time, it's how I keep my vision 40/40.

    Solar radiation, totally good for us. Cures cancer, doesn't cause it.

    One day we'll all fly into it and discover what it's like to be immortal.

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