How Floppy Disk Drives Work

Floppy Disk Drive Facts

Here are some interesting things to note about FDDs:

  • Two floppy disks do not get corrupted if they are stored together, due to the low level of magnetism in each one.
  • In your PC, there is a twist in the FDD data-ribbon cable -- this twist tells the computer whether the drive is an A-drive or a B-drive.
  • Like many household appliances, there are really no serviceable parts in today's FDDs. This is because the cost of a new drive is considerably less than the hourly rate typically charged to disassemble and repair a drive.
  • If you wish to redisplay the data on a diskette drive after changing a diskette, you can simply tap the F5 key (in most Windows applications).
  • In the corner of every 3.5-inch diskette, there is a small slider. If you uncover the hole by moving the slider, you have protected the data on the diskette from being written over or erased.

Floppy disks, while rarely used to distribute software (as in the past), are still used in these applications:


  • in some Sony digital cameras
  • for software recovery after a system crash or a virus attack
  • when data from one computer is needed on a second computer and the two computers are not networked
  • in bootable diskettes used for updating the BIOS on a personal computer
  • in high-density form, used in the popular Zip drive

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