A floppy is a soft magnetic disk. Unlike most hard disks, floppy disks (often called floppies or diskettes) are portable, because these can be removed from a disk drive. Disk drives for floppy disks are called floppy drives. Floppy disks are slower to access than hard disks and have less storage capacity, but they are much less expensive and are portable. They are used for sending data/information, distribution of softwares, drivers for hardwares, booting computer etc. Floppies come in three basic sizes:
8-inch: This was the first floppy disk design and was in use during late 1960s and early 1970s.
5.2-inch: This type of floppy is generally capable of storing between 100K and 1.2MB of data. This floppy design has also become outdated now.
3.5-inch: This is the most common type for floppy design in use. These floppies can store 720K (double-density) to 1.44MB (high-density) of data.
As stated above, the 8" and 5.2" size floppies have since become outdated. The use of 3.5" floppies has also reduced after compact disks (CDs) and Zip drives have become affordable and popular which have more storage capacity and are also more reliable storage devices.
Floppy Disk Drives (FDDs) have been a key component of personal computers. A floppy disk drive reads and writes data to a small, circular piece of magnetic material coated plastic. For a few years, computers had two floppy drives for 3.5" and 5.25" size floppies. But of late, only one floppy drive for 3.5" floppy size is available on PCs.
The construction and operation of floppy drives are similar to that of hard disk drives. However, Unlike hard disk drives, floppy disk drives use removable floppies to read and write data/information instead of integrated storage platters.
Since the floppy drives were the primary means of storing data/programs in computers initially, the 'A:' and 'B:' drives continue to be conventionally reserved for floppy drives and the hard drive is designated as 'C:' drive.