What Is a Floppy Disk Drive?

The floppy drive is a piece of computer hardware that reads data from and writes data to, a small disk. The most common type of floppy drive is the 3.5-inch drive, followed by the 5.25-inch drive, among other sizes. The floppy disk was the primary method to transfer data between computers and back up files externally, from the late 1900s all the way up to the early 21st century. For the most part, the floppy disk drive is now completely obsolete. This older storage device has been replaced by other portable devices and built-in computer hardware not only because they're more common and therefore compatible with other devices, but because they're more capable and can store much more data. The optical disk drive used for DVDs, CDs, and Blu-rays, is one commonly used piece of hardware that has replaced the floppy drive. The Floppy Drive Is Also Known As The floppy drive goes by other names, too, like floppy disk drive, disk drive, floppy diskette, diskette drive, 3.5" drive, and 5.25" drive.

Important Floppy Drive Facts

  1. While still a component of some existing computers, floppy drives are essentially obsolete, replaced by inexpensive flash drives and other portable media drives. A floppy drive is no longer standard equipment in new computer systems.
  2. Traditional floppy drives that install inside of a computer case are becoming less and less available. Typically, the best option for using a floppy disk on a computer that doesn't have one, is with an external one, probably USB-based like the one pictured above.
  3. USB floppy disk drives interface with the computer over a USB port and function much like any other removable storage device, like external hard drives and flash drives.

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