5.5. Using Removable Storage

Not all data storage is hard-wired to the system. Removable storage is the term used for storage media that you take away from the system with you.

5.5.1. Floppy disks

The floppy disk was very popular for storing data and being able to carry the data with you. Floppy disks are not as popular today because they typically can store only up to 1.44MB of data. Today, one picture from a digital camera will use that much space.

A floppy disk has a hard plastic casing with a sliding metal shutter that allows the drive to access the silicon disk inside. The floppy drive comes in different sizes, or formats:

  • 5¼-inch: The 5¼-inch floppy disk came in two formats: 360KB and 1.2MB. The 5¼-inch floppy disk had a soft, flexible shell that did not protect the disk very much. You might not encounter a 5¼-inch floppy because they have been obsolete for years.

  • 3½-inch: A 3½-inch floppy disk is the floppy disk that you will most likely encounter, if you encounter one at all. Like with the 5¼-inch floppy disk, there is a protective shell, but the shell of this format is hard plastic. The 3½-inch floppy comes in two formats: 720KB and 1.44MB. The 1.44MB format is more common.

5.5.2. Zip drives

A Zip drive is similar to a floppy drive but a little bit larger physically and stores more information. A Zip drive can store 100MB or 250MB of data, depending on what type of drive it is. These drives were popular solutions for backing up data before CD-ROMs and external drives ...

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