What is the Floppy Thing?
|What is it?||What are the Myths||How does it work?||Types||For the advanced user|
A floppy disk is a removable rotating flexible (or floppy) magnetic storage disk.
A floppy drive stores and retrieves information on floppy disks. A computer can have more than one floppy drive. The first floppy drive is labeled A, and if a second drive is present it is labeled B. The label C is reserved for the hard disk drive, a primary storage unit. The floppy stores information on disks or diskettes magnetically. The disks are removable and reusable.
The floppy disk allows you to install new programs, increase hard drive space by saving information to the floppy, transfer data from one computer to another, and backup your files on them so your data will not be lost in case of computer failure.
Floppies come in a variety of sizes but the most popular size is the 3.5 inch because of its compactness and its storage capacity as apposed to the 5.25 inch which has a rather large, clumsy size, and it doesn't have the capacity to hold the same as the 3.5 inch floppy.
Some people have thought that a floppy disk only applied to the 5.25 floppy disk, and when referring to the 3.5 inch disk it was called the hard disk because the it had a hard plastic case. Diskettes are storage media. The hard drive is a much larger primary storage device with mechanical and electrical circuitry.
Writing and reading to the "floppy" or the magnetic storage disk.
The 3.5 or 5.25 is a magnetic storage disk the computer can read and write to using a magnetic head located inside the floppy drive. It sends pulses of electricity through wires wrapped around the head creating a magnetic field causing the magnetic molecules to align. The alternative current sent through the wire, sends the molecules in the opposite direction. The data being written to the computer determines the alternative patterns. The patterns are also known as binary 1s and 0s, Ons and off's, North or South.
|When you write to a disk, MS-DOS and other operating systems use the "File Allocation Table" (FAT). The computer writes to the disk and determines where a file is stored by telling the "Sector" or "Cluster" in which it is located. When reading from a disk the head reads the FAT to tell what to look up on the disk. The disk goes to the sector or cluster of the file and tells the disk to send pulses to the read write heads which translates it into binary.|
|Unformatted||A Sector||A Track||A Cluster|
Also see Tape Backup storage
Types of Floppy Disks
Floppies can be found in two storage capacities. They are high density disks and double-density disks. They must be formatted before they can be used to store information. By formatting the disk, it is then divided into tracks and sectors which organizes the disk for information storage and retrieval from the computer. Most disks now come formatted. If not, they need to go through a format process on your computer. Be sure and format them according to the labeled capacity of the disk.
For the more advanced user click here to learn to install floppy drive units.
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