Talk:Floppy disk

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"Formats" section must be dismantled[edit]

This technical section dominates the article. Per Wikipedia:Summary style, most of its detailed content must be moved into the (already existing) "main" articles:

While the section "Formats" here must give a summary/overview without digging deep detail. Muslim lo Juheu (talk) 15:55, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

A belated strong agreement. My suggestion is that the commercially dominant formats be retained with all failed and obscure variants be moved to List of floppy disk formats. Tom94022 (talk) 18:27, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Duplicate paragraph about legacy[edit]

The second paragraph under Floppy_disk#Current_use is almost identical to the one under Floppy_disk#Impact_and_legacy. The second occurrence features an image with a floppy disk as a 'save' symbol. I don't know if that adds anything to the article, otherwise I would suggest deleting the legacy section, as this seems a bit separate from the rest of the article. Marcus, (talk) 14:39, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Deleted coercivity info. It was wrong and not on the footnote (indeed no relevant info was there) Am looking for correct info. IIRC 5.25" SD or DD, I don't remember which, were 300 Oersted; 3.5" DD were 600 (look for Microfloppy Industry Committee proposals) and HD and ED were even more. This poor info throws the grain size and chemistry info into question. Can't find or recollect anything on that datapoint, however, with the exception that I do recall it changed, along with coating thickness.

Deleted coercivity info[edit]

Deleted coercivity info. It was wrong and not on the footnote (indeed no relevant info was there) Am looking for correct info. IIRC 5.25" SD or DD, I don't remember which, were 300 Oersted; 3.5" DD were 600 (look for Microfloppy Industry Committee proposals) and HD and ED were even more. This poor info throws the grain size and chemistry info into question. Can't find or recollect anything on that datapoint, however, with the exception that I do recall it changed, along with coating thickness. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:55, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Update More source links:

Values for 3.5" DD seem to be 600, 650, 665 The conflicting values indicate more research is needed. I'm guessing there's a spec and near spec implementations. Patent search anyone? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:17, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

The specifications are likely in the ANSI, ECMA or ISO standards but it is a project to get them (some are free) but I am not sure it is worth the effort since this seems like TMI. If anyone really cares I think I can find them but again TMI Tom94022 (talk) 06:31, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

"Citation Needed"[edit]

"as the quality of recording media grew, data could be stored in a smaller area.[citation needed]"

This is simply a statement of basic logic. Anybody with even a passing understanding of the technologies of the latter 20th century knows that magnetic storage media of all kinds have been greatly improved. With improved media, it logically follows that users can store more data, more reliably, in a smaller physical space of the magnetic media. I fail to see why basic logic needs to be explained only in the form of a quotation of somebody else saying exactly what the author said themselves. Just because something was written prior to this article does not make it more reliable than this article.

No citation is needed, nor would it help the article in any way. The author handled the issue sufficiently. And Wiki tends to be extremely overly awed by 'citations', which are merely things written prior to this the current article under discussion. That does not make them any truer or wiser; just earlier.

Citations should only be required when making extraordinary claims, when recounting historical events, or when it would clarify the article. None of these cases applies here. And if this is in opposition to Wiki policy, then Wiki policy is flawed.

Philosopher8 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:25, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

3.5 inch read speed?[edit]

I think someone's got confused over units - by no means is a CDROM only 1.2x faster than a floppy! The fact that a typical PC floppy interface, that's also designed for and used with tape backup drives, can shunt 500-1000kbit/s (kbytes, even?) down its cable has absolutely no bearing on the usual disk transfer speed, in the same way that very, very few PATA hard disks come close to 133mbyte/s even when mated to an ATA-133 controller and connected to an ATA-133 motherboard with a hi-speed cable.

I'm going to try and correct it the best I can from my own knowledge; although this is OR correcting OR, as I have no sources, it is at least non-confused. I can't back it up, but I know it's more factually correct, if for no other reason than I know that a 1.39mb file takes about 90 seconds to read off an MSDOS twist-formatted (ie quick-as-reasonably-possible/3 sectors per rotation) floppy, but less than 5 from a CDROM in a double-speed drive.

The latter part mentioning 125kbit/s is closer to the truth (for a start, that more-or-less matches up with the observed speed, and the maths of 15x half-kilobyte sectors per second for each side of an HD formatted disk), but is still a bit off; I reckon 120kbit, and it's sustainable when reading a single, sequentially recorded file off one the aforementioned twist disk (which is the default for DOS/Windows machines since at least the early 90s). Which also works out to about 60kbit for a quick-read formatted DSDD, or probably closer to 20kbit for a plain-format one... however I will omit mention of them because I can't make that idea marry up to my other experience of it most certainly not taking almost five minutes to read or copy a full 713kbyte DSDD disc! It's probably more reasonable to assume that all disks are twist-type since quite early on, as it can't have been that hard a thing to figure out.

Of course, the speed slows if you're accessing multiple small and/or fragmented files, as most operating systems re-seek to track 0 before searching for the next chunk whenever they deal with non-sequential data on a floppy... but similar is true of all spinning disk formats, so is it THAT worthy of reiteration? Certainly not with an estimated speed figure anyway, as the variable nature of it (a heavily fragmented one, or one with a thousand little files, or one with bad sectors can be achingly slow, as you're maybe picking up 1-2 kbytes per each ~1-second read-seek track 0-seek next file operation... i.e. single digit kilobit/sec) makes such estimates pretty meaningless.

Also it'd probably just confuse matters to mention the very few double-speed drives? (the only ones I've seen are USB ones, presumably intended for archiving large libraries of floppies at 600rpm/240kbit rather than the regular speed...) - quite why high density/high speed models were never developed (or at least didn't gain popularity) during the format's heyday, but stuff like Zip drives did, is a mystery we may never solve. Maybe one of increased noise and wear? I'd have quite liked a 1200rpm, 60kbyte/sec floppy during the days before CDRWs became a practical proposition. (talk) 17:41, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

The specified data transfer rate (or read speed) of the device is the rate at which it transfers user data off its medium - period, end of research. I don't think we should be confusing the article by using anything else.
The fact that some early FD controllers, system buses and/or device drivers could not even support the FDD data rate necessitating interleave is irrelevant to this specification. Likewise the loss of performance due to file fragmentation and/or low level formatting is also irrelevant to this specification. I suppose a discussion on specified data transfer rate versus net data transfer rate might be interesting but it applies to all disk media so I am not sure such a discussion in the FD article is appropriate. I haven't done the math to see if the specified data rate of any FDD is 1/1.6 that of the single speed CD but that would not surprise me. Tom94022 (talk) 19:24, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Also I am pretty sure that interleave died out very early so to talk about it as "efficient" is a gross exaggeration. It is actually an inefficient format used to optimize performance on certain early slow computing systems. So the whole paragraph needs rewriting.
Furthermore, I am not sure what relevance the USB FD emulators have to do with this section and I think I will edit them down or out. Maybe they have some relevance in an article on the FDD controller which could note the controllers supported higher data rate the and FDDs supported and this was used by certain FDD emulating USB drives. Tom94022 (talk) 19:35, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

No, 2Mbps data rate for tape drives was not included into the 82091AA due to the rarity of the technology at the time of the device's production. The majority of tape drives uses either 500Kbps data rate or 1Mbps data rate and the AIP supports all of these current tape drives. The elimination of the 2Mbps data rate from the 82091AA also removes the need for the 48MHz clock; only a 24MHz oscillator is required. For customers interested in 2Mbps data rate functionality, we recommend the 82078-1.

Intel 82091AA Advanced Integrated Peripheral Technical Question & Answers
Depending upon the FDD controller the data transfer rate could be as high as 2.12 mbps as for example in the 82078-1. I don't know if any controllers ever operated at higher speeds but the read speed of an emulator is a function of the FD controller design. Tom94022 (talk) 00:34, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

“1.44 MB”, “2.88 MB”[edit]

Thanks to marketing, the “1.44 MB” and “2.88 MB” figures are canonised; however they are not accurate. The actual capacities of the relevant formats are 1474560 and 2949120 bytes, which can be reasonably expressed as 1.47 and 2.94 MB (purely decimal units), or 1.4 and 2.8 MiB (binary-friendly units). While it's not out of line for the article to mention the popular designators, when talking capacities it should state the real capacities.
überRegenbogen (talk) 19:57, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

That’s already noted in the table in the section "Sizes, performance and capacity", and in the discussion following that table. Rwessel (talk) 22:39, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

diskette vs floppy[edit]

Two editors have asserted the following belongs in the lede

To distinguish the original flexible disks from the smaller, hard-cased disks, the latter is sometimes referred to as a diskette while the former is referred to as a floppy.

There is no evidence to support this generality. Both terms have been used throughout the industry to apply to all sizes.

According to ANSI and ISO the standard name is the same for all sizes of floppy disks, namely "Flexible disk cartridge." The standards directly contradict the assertion.

The term "diskette" was introduced by IBM with its first "Type 1 Diskette" (8-inch SSSD) directly contradicting the assertion. Sony itself described its 3.5-inch device as a "floppy disk" development project and many years later announced discontinuance of its "floppy disks", again both directly contradicting the assertion.

Given this is contradicted by the common usage of language and absence a reliable source this sentence should be deleted. Tom94022 (talk) 03:03, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

What could be said is that "floppy diskettes" where originally named after their mechanically flexible nature, but that the term was continued to be used by some (many?) when less flexible diskettes surfaced the market. However, this may also depend on the locale. Over here in Germany, we pretty much stopped to use the term "Floppy" when 3.5" diskette drives came up, except for when actually refering to 5.25" and 8.0" diskettes or when refering to terms translated from English sources (who apparently continued using "floppy", "FDD", "FD", etc.). --Matthiaspaul (talk) 11:22, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
I have to agree with Tom. At least in the US, the terms were mostly interchangeable - not that people didn't occasionally try to make a distinction. In any event, the usual position is that "floppy" refers to the *media*, not the package, and 3.5 inch diskettes are certainly still have floppy media. Rwessel (talk) 16:30, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
And I'd add that even calling the 8 inch and 5.25 inch packages "floppy" is a bit of an abuse of the word - the packages, while not super strong, are fairly stiff, and not what you'd really call floppy - the media inside, OTOH, certainly is. Rwessel (talk) 16:36, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I agree with Tom and Rwessel. The terms were always used interchangeably and refer to the storage media itself, not the case/package. It differentiates between the earlier hard platter disks (hard disk) vs. the flexible disks introduced for removeable media. I've never heard of it refering to the difference in casing of the removeable disk format. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 20:07, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
The 1977 patent on the Shugart 5.25 inch floppy drive, Flexible Magnetic Disc Drive Apparatus 4,040,106 uses both disc and diskette.

2. Description of the Prior Art:
A flexible disc recording medium, sometimes called a floppy-disc or diskette cartridge, is a mylar disc enclosed in a plastic envelope having apertures for enabling the disc to be driven. Magnetic material is secured to the faces of the disc so as to provide the recording surfaces. A flexible disc drive for receiving and making functional use of the cartridge typically consists of a drive mechanism, a read/write head, a track positioning mechanism and means for receiving and loading the cartridge onto the drive mechanism and the read/write head.

I happen to have a box of Fujifilm 3.5 inch high density "Floppy Disks". Here is an advertisement for these disks. PC Magazine August, 1993 page 335 -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 19:06, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
And on the other side of that, I have a couple of boxes of Scotch 3M 5.25 inch "diskettes" (big letters, right on the box), and some Dysan 5.25s which have "Diskette Care and Handling Information" printed on the back of the sleeves. And some BASF 5.25 "FlexyDisks", just for variety. If anyone is interested, I'll scan some of those and upload the images. Rwessel (talk) 04:59, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
The terms "floppy disk", "floppy disc", "diskette" and "disc" are interchangeable. The formal terms such as "flexible disc cartridge" are rarely used. --SWTPC6800 (talk) 16:24, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

the term "Floppy", regardless of what other words are attached, refers to the MEDIA, not the case. In all cases, the media inside the case is quite flexible and this served to differentiate it from the then-standard "hard disk drive". they're all floppies. Ken (talk) 13:19, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Floppy disk music[edit]

Do you think it would be appropriate to include a little tidbit about the rise of using floppy drives for musical instruments? Here's an example . (talk) 05:01, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

The article is rather PC centric - a *brief* list of some of the more interesting non-PC applications would be a good addition. Off the top of my head, CNC machines, musical devices (for example, Yamaha's Disklavier), configuration/boot for non-PC devices (for example, many IBM 3270 controllers), test and measuring instruments (for example, Oscilloscopes). Rwessel (talk) 02:17, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

Write Protect tab does not protect from damage[edit]

"They all shared a number of advantages over the old format, including a rigid case with a sliding write protection tab, protecting them from damage;"

The write protect tab only prevents a disk from being written to. The part in addition to the housing that protects the disk from physical damage is called the shutter.

Or is the article only referring to the 8" disk as "the old format"? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:59, 8 November 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:43, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

I think what we have (or had) here is a simple poorly structured sentence, as the "protecting from damage" part refers to the "rigid case". this appears to have been re-written to clarify and this one can be closedKen (talk) 18:57, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

First 3½-inch FDDs[edit]

{moved from User_talk:ArnoldReinhold#First_3.C2.BD-inch_FDDs

Yr edit states the first 3½-inch FDDs were 320 KB but u provide no evidence. To the best of my recollection this form factor was double sided from the beginning, e.g. Shugart SA300/350. FWIW, I was at the Shugart announcement in 19821983 and have their November 1983 data sheet. Note that the article correctly distinguishes the industry standard 3½-inch FDD from the original Sony product; they were neither media, interface nor form factor compatible. So unless u have some evidence I plan to revert that part of yr edit Tom94022 (talk) 05:55, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

Take a look a our History of the floppy disk and the sources given there. Here is a book ref as well [1] It says 360KB, so i'll change that. A Google search on Shugart SA300 gives plenty of sources that say they are single sided. (They were "double density" from the beginning, perhaps that is what you recall.) I was an early customer of the hard shell floppies and my company wasted a ton of money on the Hitachi 3" drives before switching to the Sony 3.5" format. You are correct that the earliest Sony floppies had a slightly different form factor than what the industry settled on, but few of those were sold. I have plenty of sources for early Macs using single sided drives. (And plenty of single sided diskettes in my basement.) The physical diskettes were the same as those used in PCs. They introduced 800K double sided drives with the MacPlus in 1986. The 3.5" form factor did not catch on in the PC world until after Apple popularized them, so there may not have been many sold at 360KB, as this had little advantage over the then ubiquitous 5-1/4" drives. --agr (talk) 13:23, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
Neither your citation nor the History of the floppy disk disputes my contention that the industry standard 3½-inch FD and FDD were simultaneously introduced in both one and two sided formats (and single and double density for that matter). As I stated above, I have a copy of the SA300/SA350 Data Sheet dated November 1983; the SA300 is one sided and the SA350 is two sided. I have no idea why the book u cite does not list the SA350 but I can tell you from personal experience that they were simultaneously introduced and show you such a data sheet. Furthermore the 1983 Disk/Trend Report, Flexible Disk Drives, lists on page DT-14-2 7 vendors of "3½-inch disk diameter" drives, 6 of which, including Sony, offered FDDs in both one and two sided versions compatible with the industry standard format. The early HPs used the early one sided Sony which WAS not compatible with the industry standard format; among many things the tpi was different. Finally, the FD that Apple selected in 1984 was the one/two sided industry standard design approved in 1982 and which began shipping in 1983; just because Apple choose to go with the lower cost one sided design proves nothing about the existence of the two sided design. IBM later the same year went with the two sided version. I still plan to change your edits, this time with this reference to Disk/Trend, "they [two sided 3½-inch drives] have been widely used with newly introduced systems in 1984." and others to support the fact of simultaneous introduction of one/two sided and single/double density 3½-inch drives. Tom94022 (talk) 18:02, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
Here is a further quote from the June 13, 1983 InfoWorld article I cited on the introduction of the SA300: "Shugart's Kevin Burr said the obvious next step is to put another 500K of storage on the other side of the diskette and that the firm will come out with a double-sided 1-megabyte micro-floppy drive soon." That is straight from the horse's mouth quoted in a reliable secondary source. It was common then (and now) to issue data sheets for products that were not ready to ship. BTW this discussion should take place on Talk:Floppy disk. If it's ok with you, I'd like to move it all there.--agr (talk) 18:35, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
Please put a link to the Burr article, I cannot find it. Tom94022 (talk) 19:15, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
I put a link in the article. It is [2]/
In January 1983 Shugart's Thomas Jarrett in Computer Technology Review talking about the Microfloppy Industry Consortium's secification described the SA300 and stated "A double-sided 1-Mbyte version has also been announced." At that time neither product was shipping, according to Disk/Trend the SA300 shipped in 2Q83 and the SA350 in 1Q84. It is not uncommon for different models in one family to ship at different times, but according to Disk/Trend 4 of the first six drive vendors (Teac Sony, Tandon, Epson, Alps) simultaneously first shipped one and two sided drives. and as near as I can tell all vendors of double sided 3½-inch FDDs shipped their one sided version first but that doesn't change the fact The fact is that the medium was designed from the beginning as one and two sided and the drive products were designed as a family of one and two sided drives. This is in marked contrast to the 8 and 5¼ inch FDDs where two sided followed one sided by years and were basically different products. That's an important distinction and yr current edit obviates it. You might want to take a look at this edit which is probably all this topic deserves Tom94022 (talk) 19:15, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
One final point, I hope, from Disk/Trend. In 1983 the first one sided HDD (Shugart) and first two sided HDD (Tandon) shipped within about a month of each other; by the end of 1983 there were 4 one sided (Shugart, Sony, Tandon, Epson) and 2 two sided (Tandon, Epson) drives shipping. Looks simultaneous to me, particularly when compared to prior generations. The reason of course is that it was very difficult to make the two sided reliable until the invention of the Tandon patent which didn't get commercialized until the early 1980s. But after that it was foolish to just design a one sided drive. Tom94022 (talk) 20:05, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

My recollection is that the single sided shipped in quantity for a while before double sided were as widely available. Once DS were fully available, SS made little sense as DS was a huge leap in functionality. But we don't have to get into that here. I edited the section lead with different language that I hope reflects a common understanding. Let me know what you think.--agr (talk) 21:55, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

According to 1986 Disk/Trend, in 1984 two sided 3½ was 35% of about a 2.0M unit market. 1983 was a 400k total market, mostly one sided, but the 1984 two sided at ~700k was almost double the total 1983 one sided. It sounds to me like a lot of two sided availability in 1984 and I will revise the edit to reflect this. See what u think. Tom94022 (talk) 22:43, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
Your revision suggests 1.44 meg HD floppies were shipping in 1984. I don't think that's correct. I'll do some research.--agr (talk) 23:24, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
That's not what I intended to say. Two sided double density 3½-inch FDDs shipped in 1984 with capacity of 1000 KB unformatted or 720 KB formatted. The HD versions (2.0 MB unformatted, 1.44 MB advertised) came in 1986. There was also a 1.6 MB unformatted variant in the same time period that went no place. Tom94022 (talk) 01:17, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
Fixed, thanks for catching my goof. Tom94022 (talk) 01:22, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
Good work. I think we've got this one settled.--agr (talk) 04:48, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

Fractional Floppy Typography[edit]

We have a variety of inconsistent expression of the types of fractional sized FDs, ranging from 5.25 inch, 5 ¼-inch, 5¼-inch, etc. I checked various style guides and did some Google searching without finding any guidance. In their absence I think the standards should be 5¼-inch and 3½-inch through out; to my eyes the spaced versions look really bad, particularly when preceded by number as in the various section heads; e.g. this current

3.3 3 1⁄2-inch floppy disk ("Microfloppy")

versus this proposed

3.3 3½-inch floppy disk ("Microfloppy")

Rather than be bold I thought I would first see if anyone has strong feelings either way. In the absence of objection I will go ahead in a few days. Tom94022 (talk) 17:58, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

I don't actually disagree, but MOS:FRAC seems to indicated a preference for a space between the integer and the fraction, and template:frac does the same, presumably as an implementation of policy. Rwessel (talk) 06:36, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
Since we really are not talking as much about numbers as names of products its not clear the MOS is binding but even the MOS SFAC template seems to allow fractions abutting integers as in 3 1/2 and 5 1/4. The resulting header using non-breaking space and en dash would be
3.3 3 1/2 –inch floppy disk ("Microfloppy")
I think the unicode looks better and will probably work better embedded in a paragraph but by using the template rather than unicode I could avoid Wiki police :-) Let's wee what others have to say. Tom94022 (talk) 17:23, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Floppy Drive[edit]

Is there any interest in a separate article on the drives? Years ago I heard a remark, possibly spurious, that the color of the activity light on the front of a 5 1⁄4-inch drive indicates capacity and that a 360 kB drive can corrupt data on a 1200 kB diskette without any indication of error. In contrast, I've never heard of inadvertent data corruption with a 3 1⁄2-inch drive. Such information is worthy of inclusion here or in an article dedicated to the drives. ... Regards, PeterEasthope (talk) 03:36, 21 February 2013 (UTC)

I don't think the drives are really separable from the media, and are in any event covered in the various floppy disk articles. The issue of corruption on mismatched density 5.25" media and drives is covered, at least partially, in History of the floppy disk. This was a non-issue on 3.5" drives, as the case of 3.5" diskettes had a notch indicating density, preventing a drive from using incompatible media. As to a density indication via a status or activity lamp, I've never seen such of a FDD, and I've seen many FDDs, although it doesn't mean that someone somewhere didn't do it. But it was certainly not a standard or common feature. Rwessel (talk) 07:44, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Rwessel, no need for separate article. FWIW, I don't recall the any issue of 350 KB 5¼-inch drives corrupting a 1.2 KB (other than by attempting to format) nor do I recall any LED color indication of capacity. The latter is theoretically possible in the 1.2 KB drive once it has read the medium, but that would have required on board intelligence and I am not sure too many of those drives had microprocessors and data read capability. Tom94022 (talk) 17:33, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
It could have been done by the host system after it read the media (after all, the interface to the FDD was quite low-level, the host, either on the CPU or the FDD controller, did quite a bit of the heavy lifting needed to run the drive). Then the drive would only have to provide a programmable LED. Or it could have been driven off the DENSEL signal from the controller. But I never did see anything like that on a FDD. Rwessel (talk) 19:58, 21 February 2013 (UTC)

My reference to "color of the activity light" was ambiguous. Should have said "color of the plastic window in front of the activity light". The claim I heard was only that the color of the plastic window indicated capacity. Not that the electronics of the drive or the function of the computer were involved. The colors I recall are red, yellow and green. Seems plausible that a manufacturer would have such a color code but agreement between different manufactures is another question. I should test the dozen or so old drives here. Thanks for the discussion. ... PeterEasthope (talk) 14:53, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

The LED color was generally customer selectable, and by customer, I mean the computer manufacturer who would order batches of thousands of these things. The ones for individual sale tended to not to have that sort of option (although they were often packed with more than one color bezel). Here are a couple of data sheets from Samsung (see section 9.2) and ALPS (see last line in "features" section at the beginning):
Rwessel (talk) 22:47, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
FWIW, my recollection is that they were all red to start with (that's the only color at first) and at sometime ISO (or ECMA) banned red for other than malfunctions. So I suspect it is a mess and not worthy of inclusion in this article. Just my 2 cents. Tom94022 (talk) 18:37, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
I suspect that cost had something to do with it too. Red LEDs were significantly cheaper than the other colors into at least the mid-80s, and a few years before that you basically had your choice of any color so long as it was red. Rwessel (talk) 23:07, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
The confusion likely arises from the staggered implementation of the 'anything-but-red' rule. The rule came from the Europeans/EU who at the time were about legislating just about anything and everything for the flimsiest of reasons, and had been known to change their minds in the past. We had previously dealt mostly with the French prior to the EU formation and were fairly accustomed to seesaw human factors dictates; a rule today was likely changed or superceded next year. The ruling was that red should mean personal danger only, and since there was no real personal danger from drive activity, red could not be used. (during this era the red high-beams indicator on your car also changed to blue for the same reasons) Other colors were available at a significant extra cost and importers had to start specifying them from the drive OEMS. Since there was no standard and other colors were in short supply, we got whatever color we could get. I worked at Datapoint during this time and recall the changeover mess. The phase-in was pretty long and for quite awhile we saw a mix of red, yellow and green LEDs in our disk drives (purchased from several OEMs). There was no significance to the colors other than we had to make sure we had used all the red ones before the cutoff date. As we used various size drives at different rates from different suppliers, it is easy to see that someone could think that a color indicated drive capacity but as far as I recall that would be a simple misconception based on the staggered conversion away from red. The activity light was only on HDDs, our 8.5" FDD (which we made) had no activity light iirc. Since we OEM'd our 5.25 FDD I do not recall the issue on them. Ken (talk) 15:38, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
Ken is probably talking about the Burrough's 8½ FDD which did not achieve commercially significant volume. The Shugart SA800 (8-inch) and SA400 (5¼-inch), both commercially significant in high volume did have LED "activity lights" as to the best of my recollection did most FDDs. Tom94022 (talk) 16:18, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
No, I'm talking about the Shugart-type drives as built by Datapoint (by the 10s of 1000s). Which actually, now that I found an old snapshot, had an LED in the release button. And it was red. Ken (talk) 19:10, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
Sorry u thru me off with the 8½-inch dimension which I thought was a Burroughs unit. Tom94022 (talk) 00:41, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
you are correct, it was 8.0 not 8.5. It was an internal design based on Shugart's. Ken (talk) 19:05, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
I don't think there was any color convention for the activity LEDs or their colored windows in floppy drives used in any kind of PC. Colors changed over time as a matter of "fashion". At some time, red LEDs were considered "old fashioned" and therefore were often replaced by green or amber ones, where the color had not to remain red for some specific reason. This was/is a general trend, not limited to floppy drives. Today, we see many blue LEDs for similar reasons (although I haven't seen them in floppy drives, yet).
--Matthiaspaul (talk) 21:24, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
There was a European based directive to not use red for other than a warning that caused all of us (FDD, HDD, etc) to migrate away from red LEDs as activity indicators. I seem to recall having to process the changes either in the early 80s (I was at Shugart) or the late 80s (I was at SyQuest). I don't recall specific color being an issue, just not red and inexpensive. Tom94022 (talk) 00:41, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Binary Prefix War Redux[edit]

Nnemo is resurrecting the binary prefix wars in a rather unusual way, he wants to change the generally accepted binary designation KB to kB throughout this FD article. First of all, floppy disk capacities are (except for the very earliest) measured in binary kilobytes, where 1 KB = 1,024 bytes not 1 kB = 1,000 bytes. Furthermore most of the literature, spec sheets, etc. use KB and not kB. Its more complex in that MB can mean 1,000,000 or 1,024,000 or 1,048,576 depending upon context which is why I think we should use KiB and MiB in this article but that is another fight. In any event kB is simply inaccurate. Tom94022 (talk) 06:00, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

Correction/clarification on Apple external floppy drives and Eject buttons[edit]

Made an edit to clarify that 400k and 800k external floppy drives from Apple sold for Macintosh did not contain eject buttons. The existing description of the presence of an eject button for use with the Apple II and how the button is disabled when attached to a Mac is/was correct, for these later external drives. The article Macintosh External Disk Drive clearly shows the lack of an eject button, but unfortunately it is not explicitly mentioned in the text. I am the original owner of an 800k Macintosh External Disk Drive and also own the later universal model with the eject button as already described in the pre-edit text. (I might also have my brother's 400k external.) If it would help, i could photograph these drives and submit to Wikimedia. This is my second-ever edit to any Wikipedia article. If i’ve made any mistakes, i’ll learn from your all’s wisdom and correct them as i can. --Sonic Purity (talk) 22:09, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

Good error corrections; unfortunately I wiped out the several sentences on a belief that they were TMI. The only suggestion I would have made had it continued is don't start a sentence with digits and don't mix yr descriptions, perhaps starting with something like, "The original external 3 12-inch drives (400K and 800K)..." Tom94022 (talk) 05:19, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

Chart errors[edit]

The chart has incorrect capacity data for the 8" SSSD (3.1mB) and DSSD (6.2mB). Ken (talk) 16:31, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

No they aren't: note the small "b", the unformatted capacity is, indeed, 3.1 million *bits*. *Arrgh* hit save too soon. There may be cause for changing those to bytes for consistency. Rwessel (talk) 18:10, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
I made them megabits for consistency and to avoid binary digit confusion. The whole table would benefit from a cleanup using unambiguous prefixes, but that is another battle :-) Tom94022 (talk) 22:16, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

(Eg.) "8-inch", "8 inch", or "8 in"[edit]

Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers: "In prose, unit names should be given in full if used only a few times, but symbols may be used when a unit (especially one with a long name) is used repeatedly (spelling out the first use". Seems inches (not in) is ok (more than a few?). However not sure the hyphen is allowed. Same for 16-bit. Is there some justification? WP:UNITS says use SI-units if science or "UK engineering article". I disagree with not using inches for floppies, computer/TV screens etc. but might it here hinge on if floppies are deemed scientific? Or engineering and invented in the UK (seems the were not). comp.arch (talk) 10:29, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

The names were cleaned up a long time ago, but a few variations have crept in over the years. I've gone ahead and made them consistent (8-inch, 5 14-inch, and 3 12-inch) again. I did dither a bit on the usages in the second paragraph, which are sort of half way between specifying a dimension and a name (although 3.5-inches is incorrect as a dimension for 3 12-inch floppies). If someone feels strongly about those, I can see changing them back. A couple of places continue to use inconsistent formats, either in quotes or names, or in a couple of places where dimensions are referenced explicitly ("The earliest floppy disks, developed in the late 1960s, were 8 inches (200 mm) in diameter"). Rwessel (talk) 16:57, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
FWIW, I also cleaned up Floppy disk variants, Floppy disk format, List of floppy disk formats, and History of the floppy disk‎. Rwessel (talk) 17:48, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, I guess "3.5-inches is incorrect as a dimension for 3 12-inch floppies" is a good justification for hyphen as it is a "name" and not an actual dimensions (in some cases). I don't disagree in general with a hypen is in 16-bit but it seems to borderline contradict the WP:MOS? comp.arch (talk) 13:33, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
I'd consider 8-inch, 5 14-inch, and 3 12-inch in this context to be names or adjectives, not units. Same with 8-bit or 16-bit. IOW, the "16-bit computer with a 5 14-inch diskette drive had 128 MB of memory and weighted 57 pounds." I think an argument could be made the other way, but this is pretty common/customary usage. In any event, the MOS is (mostly) guidelines, but I believe using the hyphen in these cases would fall under the compound adjective rule MOS:HYPHEN. Rwessel (talk) 19:36, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

IBM XDF formatted 3.5 inch[edit]

Not sure how important it is to include, but the entry on 3.5inch disks does not mention Extended Density Disks used by IBM in OS/2 and PC-DOS 7. ( Amiga and Apple formatted disks are documented with their sizes, so I figured it's worth mentioning. (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 21:05, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

"The Floppy Disk Story"[edit]

An IP recently added "Grillet, Andrew; (2011). "The Floppy Disk Story" User description of the impact of the floppy disk on computer use from the original 8" to its demise." to the ref section. I'm going to remove it again because the 13 page book doesn't appear to have a legitimate publisher, and has all the signs of being a WP:SPS. Grillet isn't a recognized expert, and a Google search indicates his other works are of a similar SPS or vanity-press status. Additionally, Amazon links are a violation of WP:RS, which doesn't help. I suppose it might be of limited use, but I don't think it's a good idea to support refspam when it isn't rock-solid. Grayfell (talk) 22:17, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

I don't think either WP:SPS or WP:RS are particularity relevant as the only issue with a Bibliography {sic, better as Additional Reading) should be notability. I thought the author's lede was interesting and was will to ascribe good faith to the IP as to notability. Since neither of us have read the eBook I don't see how we can now comment on notability - maybe I'll read it and see. Tom94022 (talk) 04:56, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
BTW Gillet has 9 eBook titles on Amazon (a publisher) going back to 2011 and as near as I can tell no other title is linked off Wikipedia so its not clear that WP:SPS or WP:RS would apply if an IP quoted one of his books. Nor is it clear that the IP who linked the book is Grillet. Tom94022 (talk) 05:07, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

I don't see the CF2 disk listed anywhere.[edit]

CF2 or Compact Floppy Disc was popular with early word processors and the Amstrad/Schneider line of computers.(joyce & cpc) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:02, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

It's listed in Floppy disk variants. Although that section could probably use some expansion. Rwessel (talk) 15:45, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

5¼-inch DS HD capacity + wrong units all over the page[edit]

IIRC, 5¼-inch DS HD disks had 1200KiB and not 1155 KiB as stated in the article right now (which also fits what other resources e.g. List_of_floppy_disk_formats or say.

Apart from that, units like KB or K are not only ambiguous but also wrong in many ways, first "K" is not a SI prefix (that would be k) and then all these values are to the base 2, while all SI prefixes are to the base 10. Use KiB and friends instead.

Cheers, --Cálestyo (talk) 04:14, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

The 1155kB was simple wrong, I fixed that. Not sure where that came from, perhaps someone was looking at the capacity after the file system was installed (which is one definition of formatted capacity, but not the one being used in the article).
As to the kiB/kB/KB thing... This is a morass. I suggest you get out while you still can.  ;-) First, we generally avoid the binary prefixes (ki, mi, etc.) per WP:COMPUNITS, simply because of the very limited use of the binary prefixes in the real world. There has been vast debate on that, and the consensus is pretty clear - we're not using them. The misuse of the SI prefixes to imply powers of 1024 *is* a problem, but the binary prefixes are, due to the worlds massive unfamiliarity with them, probably a way of making the problem worse. If you'd like to try to change the consensus, this is not the place.
In the case of K, the same guidelines suggest using a capital K to imply 1024, as that does follow fairly common industry practice, although a minuscule k is certainly common as well. Anyway, this article (and several of the related ones) have an unholy mix of kB and KB, that should really get cleaned up. Somebody remind me what the last consensus on this was? KB? I'll take a crack at some of this if I can figure out which way it's supposed to go.
And I think I even spotted a kb or two scanning the article that appear to mean bytes not bits. Rwessel (talk) 05:28, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

Wrong data rates[edit]

The article incorrectly specifies the data rates for DD, HD, and ED to be 500, 1000, and 2000 kbps. In fact, they are 250, 500, and 1000 kbps. 2000 kbps is used by some tape drives connected to a floppy disk controller, and not all floppy disk controllers even support such a data rate. I think this should be corrected. - (talk) 12:25, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

I believe this to be correct (the data rates for DD/HD/ED 3.5" floppies were nominally 250/500/1000kbps), although some controllers, supported a faster interface for non-floppy devices (although it's not clear to me which ones). The external link Floppy disk drives and media technical information supports that, but the section as written is confusing and poorly sourced. Perhaps the sentence could be revised as: "These made better use of the available bandwidth, and eventually pushed the 500/1000250/500 kb/s limits of standard (DD/HD) motherboard floppy disk controllers; higher end models could make use of the 2000 kbit/s throughput on of DSEDsome controllers" Rwessel (talk) 19:05, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

Disk Sizes[edit]

I have used 10 inch discs in, IIRC, communications controller during the 1970s-1980s. (talk) 17:30, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

Reference please. What kind of communications controller? IBM 3274s and 3705s (stand-alone models), for example, used 8" floppies. Rwessel (talk) 18:20, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

FDD Speed and Floppy Tape[edit]

I removed a large section starting with what I believe to be a dubious discussion of FDD effective data rate followed by irrelevant discussion and comparison of floppy tape.

AFAIK, only the very early FDDs were limited by system data rate and by the mid 1980s any PC could then operate at a 1-to-1 interleave. Also the format efficiency was about 85% so that the effective data rate was about 85% of the media data rate for one track. There might be a point about larger than one track reads where a poor format would cut the data rate by a factor of 2 (two revolutions per track) but a good format would not. This was somewhat discussed above in 3.5 inch read speed. All of this is way to much detail for Wikipedia so I think we keep it simple as it now reads.

BTW I looked for but did not find a reliable source discussing FDD effective data rate so to a certain extent the deleted material might be POV.

The rest of the stuff on Floppy Tape is irrelevant to the article, maybe someplace else in Wikipedia but not in this overlong section as it now stands. Tom94022 (talk) 08:48, 24 December 2015 (UTC)

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US Nuclear Force uses floppy disks[edit]

Still in use...

-) So not yet obsolete? Update article accordingly... (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 11:21, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

That limited uses remain is not in question (it's even mentioned in the lead). That does not alter the obsolescence. Heck, there are actually still a few remaining uses for paper tape (mainly old CNC machines), that's solidly obsolete too. Rwessel (talk) 17:48, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

Production status?[edit]

With the recent news that the VCR has been discontinued, I wonder if anyone is still producing the various sizes of floppy disks and disk drives? – Philosopher Let us reason together. 17:55, 23 July 2016 (UTC)

For what it's worth, new USB 3.5" floppy drives are still on the shelves of stores like Fry's Electronics. Obviously that doesn't mean they're still being manufactured. Media on the other hand seems to be harder to find; I've only been able to find what appears to be overstocked inventory that retailers are selling through on Amazon. - Alyssa3467 (talk) 19:36, 23 July 2016 (UTC)

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