Monday, April 9, 2007

Death of the Floppy Drive

The floppy disk has been dead for a while now.  It's just too small and too slow.  I haven't really used them for anything other than a boot disk for years.  Even network drivers don't fit in 1.44 megs anymore.  USB Flash drives serve the purpose of floppies now.  However, I didn't realize just how dead they were until yesterday. 

While rummaging through an old laptop bag of mine, I ran across a disk from college which contained my senior honors thesis on it.  I have a web-copy of the document but had managed to lose the original word format version.  It was when I went to go retrieve the document from the disk that I realized just how dead floppy disks are.  Out of the 6 computers in my house (4 desktops, 2 laptops), only my kids' computer still even has a floppy drive in it.  While I have drives sitting around, I don't bother to hook them up any more when I build a new computer.

I don't know how typical my experience is but most new machines don't come with floppy drives any more.  The venerable 3.5" floppy disk is so antiquated that it is becoming difficult to even find a drive to read it in.  What has been one of the most stable parts of the PC since near its inception is now nearly extinct.  How much data is sitting around on disks in drawers, filing cabinets, etc. that we'll be unable to access very shortly?


  1. You're not alone. I went through a box of floppies not to long ago, pulling data off before I don't have any drives left that can read them, and a good half couldn't be read :(

  2. > I haven't really used them for anything other than a boot disk for years.
    How do you upgrade your BIOS?

  3. @Maurits: How do you upgrade your BIOS?
    That's easy.  Buy a new motherboard.

  4. @Maurits,  many modern motherboards can be flashed via a Windows app.  If not, you could do it via a cd-rom.

  5. Might be time to update the "Save" icon in a lot of programs :-)

  6. > many modern motherboards can be flashed via a Windows app
    Wow... that's kind of scary.  So in theory, a virus could torch your BIOS?  I doubt that anyone would write a virus that targeted a particular motherboard though... unless it was a competing motherboard vendor...

  7. I was surprised last week when my daughter pulled out a 3.5" disk from her backpack. Apparently, her school still uses them. She prefers her flash drive.
    I had a bunch of 5.25" disks that had diary entries from high school; I was keeping them more for nostalgia than anything, but lost thos a few years ago, too.
    Still, the only good long-term storage is paper, microfilm, and Usenet. :-)

  8. One of my employees stopped by and left a floppy drive on my desk.  Now I can find one.  Thanks Ryan!