How Floppy Disks Work

How Floppy Disks Work
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Video: No matter what the size — eight-inch, 5 1/4-inch, 3 1/2-inch — floppy disks are the most iconic symbols of old-school computing. But how do they actually work? The 8-Bit Guy spends 15 minutes breaking down what makes floppy disks so cool, despite being obsolete.

When you peel back that familiar plastic case, the magnetic material of a floppy isn’t unlike the tape found in cassettes. But once you start exploring disc formats from IBM, Apple, Commodore and other computing elders, things get weird and even more confusing. It’s one of the reasons why early disk formats didn’t work well (or at all) across different computers.

The video doesn’t just stop with floppy disks themselves, but also gets into the nitty-gritty tech surrounding disk drives and whether it’s really that weird that the US military still relies on the decades-old technology. (Spoiler: It’s not.)