Goodbye, Floppy Disks

In 1981, Sony brought the world the 3.5-inch floppy disk, which for nearly two decades would stand as the PC world's preferred means of storage. In 2011, after 30 years on the market, Sony will cease production of these disks.

Despite the advent of superior mediums like CDs, DVDs and flash drives, the format lived on well into the 21st century both for owners of older PCs and Macs and for storage purposes, many people's old documents, images and most importantly games still taking up megabytes on floppies the world over.

The time has finally come, however, for Sony, the 3.5-incher's creator, to pull the plug, disclosing the decision to end production earlier this week.

I'll remember the format not for its convenience or reliability - two things I thought due to its small size and flimsy nature it never had - but for how it revolutionised video gaming around school playgrounds and offices the world over by being so easy to copy.


Comments

    They are still being produced?...

    I stopped using them about 6 years ago.

    Got to love USB flash drives and external hard drives.

      Yeah... computers aren't even made with these drives anymore, and haven't been for a long time.

      I'm surprised it took this long, but still, death of an era, people.

      Even if it technically died a decade ago.

        Its even kind of sad in a way. I never liked floppy disks but it makes me feel old. I grew up using them for primary school and the start of high school.

    you know it is 2010 not 2011

      they will stop production in 2011, they just announced it this year.

    Yikes. Much like VHS I can't even remember the last time I looked at a floppy disk let alone used one.

      You will be surprised how many people still use VHS. I will safely bet that Australians, the majority use VHS.

      Compared to America who have been using DVRs for quite some time and their market in DVRs is quite large compared to ours. Not only that, the ones available to us are quite expensive anyway and its only taken off in the past 2 years.

      But VHS is still widely popular and used, in Australia anyway. Its easy to record and understand and just as easy to use on another VCR. I don't personally use them myself, but they are used in my household. I do like being able to use something, for instance a recorded TV show on another device very easily. Seems things these days are getting more complicated like that even though its part of consumer demand.

      In regards to FLOPPY DISCS though, i too didn't realize they were still being manufactured or even SOLD! Heck i remember getting my old computer that didn't come with a drive, this was around XP time and had to install my own floppy drive to use data i needed. THATS how 'unused' i thought they had become, BACK then.

    I have had one of these in my home PC since what... 1998?

    3.5 inch floppy drives were basic equipment for PCs for longer than anything else and probably the oldest techology in most computers these days.
    Think about it and you'll realise everything else has changed.
    Cds started burning, then dvds did, hard drives grew, turned solid state, multiple discs, motherboards went twin and quad core with built in sound and graphics, RAM hit gigabyte size, screens got flatter, cases got shinier, power supplies got juiced, yet the faithful floppy drive hung around, without evolving, but ever fundamental.
    Only the advent of flash drives and solid state cards have matched their copying abilities.
    I still have a stack or two of the old plastic pals lying around.
    Memories.

    "but for how it revolutionised video gaming around school playgrounds and offices the world over by being so easy to copy."

    I don't think I'd be a gamer today if I hadn't been able to play so many amazing (at the time) games on my Amiga thanks to that...

    Wow. I didn't realise they were still in production either. I used them in Uni to hand in assignments (2000 - 2002) and such but never looked back after that. I remember when I was tutoring and someone handed their assignment in on a 5.25 inch disk and we all had a good chuckle before someone went to find a drive to read it. That will be the same for 3.5 inch disks soon...

    My two fondest memories:
    a) Taking forever to learn that it was still a floppy disk, even though the outer casing was hard (I was a kid!)
    b) Insert Disk #6, Insert Disk #10, Insert Disk #1, Insert Disk #6 (ie. Changing disks all the time when installing/playing games) Kinda get nostalgic when I play multi-Disc games these days...

    How will I transfer my 4mb of data now?

      Your what? 4MB? Were you using some kind of magical futuristic 3.5" disk?

    Amiga 1200

    I think this is a fitting farewell song for our beloved plastic encased metal disk -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=up863eQKGUI

    I had no idea they were still manufactured/used, I don't even remember the last time I used one, it would have been early high school before they asked us to use flash drives instead. I've still got a million of them lying around, despite not having a working floppy drive in my house for nearly ten years... I'm not gonna get rid of them any time soon :p

    preferred the bigger, floppier 5' you could cut a chunk out of to make them double sided - gold! hopefully they still make those...

    I still use them!

    My (electric) piano has a floppy disc drive on it, which I still use to play MIDI files on there. Some to learn new pieces, others just to make them sound better. I have kind of run out of space on a fair few of them though... better stock up while I can!

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