Sony finally killing off floppy disks

Sony, according to CNET, has 70% of the 3.5 inch floppy market. They have announced that they are going to end all floppy sales in March of 2011. In 2002 Sony sold 47 million floppy drives in Japan and in 2009 that number dropped to just 12 million.

The 3.5 inch floppy disk made its debut in 1981 replacing the 5.25 inch floppy which made its debut in 1976. Over the years though manufacturers have slowly stopped including the drive on their computers.

Apple was the first to drop the floppy drive in their iMac line which only had a CD-ROM drive. Dell followed the trend in 2003 and introduced a Dimension desktop without the drive. Other manufacturers slowly started following this trend and the floppy has come to be something of the past.

R.I.P floppy.

Image Credit: PSD (Flickr)

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i'm glad there gone, i used to hate doing windows 3.11 installs and swapping disks approx 15 times now that was time consuming sitting there listening it to it churning away waiting for the computer to ask for the next disk.

I bought a 100 pack of Sony floppy disks a few years ago so hopefully they'll last me. I still have about six unopened boxes of Dysan 5.25" 360K floppies stored away too.

Sad but where I work, I just had to order a USB floppy drive and a box of disks for a computer that was just "replaced/upgraded" as part of an aging system.

Ahmed Kotb said,
what will i do now with the 8 win3.11 disks

I still have Windows 3.1 on 5.25" disks, and I used to have Windows 98 on 3.5" floppy disks. Came with an old laptop that had no CD-ROM drive.

I still have a floppy drive in my Quad Core system and at the moment I see two packs of Imation floppy diskettes on my computer table.

"The 3.5 inch floppy disk made its debut in 1981 replacing the 5.25 inch floppy which made its debut in 1976. "

That was an slow replacement, at least down here... O_o We were still using 5.25 ones in the early years of the 1990´s...

"I remember backing up my entire porn collection (pics) on floppies in the late 90s. It took like 30 floppies!"

Eh, eh... Back in the late 1990´s, in the place I work we would use some 10, 15 3,5 flopies to backup our stuff using the good and old ARJ or PKZip for DOS... Good times!

RIP .. Lots of good memories with those damn little floppies..
Any1 remember "TFormat"? I used this small utility to format bad floppies and reuse them.

Old desktop still has a floppy drive and i still have most of the disks in storage, don't use them much anymore. I think the last times were a bios flash (like others here) and loading windows 3.11 in a virtual machine just for fun (sucker is 6 disks one day i should put it on a cdr doing that works right?)

Laptop's with a bad BIOS flash require an external USB floppy drive and a rescue disk (Not a reg boot disk) to do a Boot Block Recovery flash... If your into this kind of stuff, get some floppies before they're gone!

I've always wondered if, using modern drives and old disks with modern techniques, you can get far more storage onto an old disk, with increased data security.

I remember backing up my entire porn collection (pics) on floppies in the late 90s. It took like 30 floppies!

I still use floppies sometimes but I think I will always have one in my PC simply for nostalgic reasons. Way too many memories from the era of the floppy disk!

People look at the numbers and forget about Business, many of which still have a floppy boot disk for management. I'll bet you the vast majority of those sales are too corporate markets who still use it for things like that.

12million floppies in 2009? I am on a PC (forget a mac) and haven't used a floppy in 4 years. 12 million in japan, 2009... still digesting those numbers.

This could be interesting - Server 2003 needs drivers loaded from a floppy disk to install onto some raids. Good thing it will be reaching end of life soon, just like server 2000 this year

*waves bye-bye*

Haven't had one in a system for years, in fact the only floppy drive I own was used a window stop for a few months.

I've also noticed that motherboards seem to be finally dropping the port itself (along with most m/b now only having one IDE port, instead of two)

D.J.P said,
*waves bye-bye*

Haven't had one in a system for years, in fact the only floppy drive I own was used a window stop for a few months.

I've also noticed that motherboards seem to be finally dropping the port itself (along with most m/b now only having one IDE port, instead of two)

Yeah, and they also seem to be dropping one (mouse) or both (mouse and keyboard) PS/2 ports.

I had good and bad times wih floppies, I still remember how the information got corrupted when you most needed it. I remember installing Windows 3.1 with, I don't know, 10-15 disks? Mortal Kombat in about 25 disks!!

daniel_rh said,
I remember installing Windows 3.1 with, I don't know, 10-15 disks?

Your memory is pretty bad then. Windows 3.1 was 6 disks. even if you were installing DOS at the same time, that would only add another 2 or 3.

Well where I work, I cover over 600 users, and there are still a good number of people that use floppies on a daily basis. A DAILY BASIS!! Everytime I'm in their office, I try to convince them to stop.

*Pats his trusty LS240 drive*

Too bad that didn't take off as much as it could have either... The laser servo inside it sounds okay though.

My relatively modern Quad-Core Desktop w/ 8 Gigs RAM system has a Sony Floppy Drive, and I still keep a few USB floppy drives around for systems I come across that don't have them.

Bootable USB formatting tools still aren't that common (or natively supported by Windows), and very few of my systems can boot from something like a USB thumbdrive. Many of them still require Firmware and BIOS updates done through DOS, making a Floppy drive/disk real handy.

So, here in 2010, Windows 7 x64 will happily format a 1.44 MB DOS Floppy. But it will not make a bootable USB thumbdrive.

Got one on my current system, bought in 2007, mostly for the occasional stuff that needed a floppy. At least it doubles as a card reader, so it's not totally useless.

I'm astonished that this abomination still walks the Earth. I thought that they would have died out years ago. I haven't used these little nightmares since I got a CD-RW and I don't think I've even seen one since I got an USB flash drive.

Actually floppies are still good for various "advanced" stuff. We are using gpxe boot floppies for some older machines, which makes them pretty good and cheap network terminals.

babyHacker said,
Too bad I need them most of the time to flash motherboard's BIOS.

Most motherboards can boot from USB nowadays. At least I can't remember not being able to boot from a USB stick the last several years.

DRavisher said,

Most motherboards can boot from USB nowadays. At least I can't remember not being able to boot from a USB stick the last several years.
I do all my BIOS flashing from within Windows. o_O

dave164 said,

It's A LOT safer through the BIOS

True. Stability has improved by leaps and bounds when it comes to BIOS flashing from Windows (it's virtually risk free in 7), and firmware compatibility checks are a bit more thorough from Windows, but I agree that I feel a crapload more confident hitting 'Write' from the BIOS with a flash stick.

To this day, BIOS flashes make me sweat more than any other computer task. With cloud computing and secondary partitions essentially mainstream, the thought of a format really isn't nearly as scary as it once was. But a botched BIOS flash? *shudder*

One of my mobos has something like a second ROM chip to fool proof flashing, as it can always fall back to a functioning BIOS if a flash fails (and write the stable one to the farked chip). But even so.

Edited by Joshie, Apr 26 2010, 8:36pm :

i put a Floppy Drive in my PC in 2006 that i built. even though i don't use Floppies to much, i still use them once in a while.

but lately about the only time i use them is for flashing my XBox360's DVD-ROM drive's firmware from DOS. (which can be done in Windows but i prefer DOS)

the discs i am using for that floppy drive... i got in 1996 or so. lol (so i have not bought Floppies in ages)

When our school built out all their new elementarys and the new high school they IT Admin decided that they needed to spend extra to continue using systems with floppy disks. This was in 2007, sadly the IT admin still works there even though she continuously degrades the stability and advancement of the cities network.

Crazy...
My old school got a new build in 2005, we stopped having dvd drives, let alone floppies!
The computers were all-in-one armored units. Great, as you could punch the screen if you were ****ed off =).

Edited by acnpt, Apr 26 2010, 2:22pm :

Last computer I bought with a floppy drove was in 02, don't think I actually popped a floppy in it, but it was a good dust bunny holder

I've got some floppy disks lying around, but there is only one computer that still has a floppy drive. I should probably copy the information off of them before that computer goes bust >.<

Mippie said,
Wait, they sold 12 million floppies in 2009 ?

Japan has a very different computer market from the west. You stop by Akihabara and you'll see all kinds of random uses for small amounts of space. They have far more software genres than we do. Population density makes niche markets more feasible, after all.

That, and I wonder if retro gamers might make copies of old console software that ran from floppies (early Famicom anyone?).

virtorio said,
I wouldn't write off floppy disks yet Sony. You can still like, double the size (almost), using Drive Space 3.

Why would you want to though, when the maximum capacity you would get is about 2.88Mb!!!!

neo158 said,
Why would you want to though, when the maximum capacity you would get is about 2.88Mb!!!!

You realize he is joking?

Rudy said,
Just the noise these things made is enough to give me nightmares

LOL, aww, I actually sometimes miss the brief churn they made at boot up (the 5.25" drive's noise was MUCH more fun). It made computers feel so much more mechanical!

I mean, come on, write protecting a disk by pushing a physical tab? Write protecting a 5.25" floppy by putting tape over it! Whee.

Alladaskill said,
"High Density (1.44MB)" =)

high density was relative to low density drives of 720KB (which were 'low' density)

nonick said,

high density was relative to low density drives of 720KB (which were 'low' density)

Ooooh, gonna have to correct you there, buddy. 720KB 3.5" floppies were Double Density (DD). :3

R.I.P. So many good games and memories were provided through you. You were also the best excuse any school kid could have when unable to submit an assignment or present and oral presentation. You were a good friend.

.Neo said,
People still use floppies?! Last time I used one was before I got my iMac back in 2002...

People using legacy systems with legacy software do, yes. I know a good few large local businesses in my area which still make use of them, specifically for CAD software, as some reason they prefer the DOS version compared to newer Windows/Mac editions.