Floppy Disk Capacity 

The floppy disk capacity is low compared to many of the digital storage formats that are available today such as CDs, DVDs, hard disks, and data tapes. This makes floppies not suitable for digital scrapbooking storage projects.

The information or data on a floppy disk is laid out in concentric circles which are called tracks. This differs from optical media where the data is laid out in a spiral pattern. The tracks on a floppy disk are further divided into wedges or sectors.

The number of sectors per track on a diskette is constant. The actual data that is stored is represented on the disk via the alignment of the magnetic particles in the binder layer of the diskette. 

3.5 inch floppy diskette outside of its protective jacket

With the application of a magnetic field, the magnetic particles can aligned themselves in one of two ways. One orientation is made to represent a “1” in the binary code and the other orientation the “0” in the code. By varying the orientation, the binary code for the stored information is formed.

The floppy disk capacities vary depending on the size of the disk and the format. There are various designations of disk storage capacity and some of these are summarized below for the various sized disks. The list below indicates some of the most common capacities. There were several other floppy diskettes with different storage capacities and different sizes available as well, but these are not shown as they were generally less popular.

8 inch Disk Storage Capacity

  • First Disk – 80 KB
  • SSSD – Single Sided Single Density – 250 KB
  • DSSD – Double Sided Single Density – 500 KB
  • DSDD – Double Sided Double Density – 1.2 MB

5.25 inch Floppy Capacity

  • SS – Single Sided – 110 KB or 160 KB storage capacity
  • DS – Double Sided or DD – Double Density – 360 KB
  • QD – Quad Density – 720 KB
  • DSHD – Double Sided High Density or HD – High Density – 1.2 MB

3.5 inch Floppy Disk Capacity

  • SS – Single Sided – 280 KB storage capacity
  • DD – Double Density – 720 KB
  • HD – High Density – 1.44 MB
  • ED – Extended Density – 2.88 MB

The most common floppy disk storage capacity for the 3.5 inch format was the HD.

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