Having Old Floppy Disks Around? You Can Still Buy a USB Floppy Disk Drive to Read Them

If you are young enough, you may never have heard about floppy disks. They were the equivalent of “micro SD card” in the 1970’s to 2000’s , in the sense they were portable mass storage device, but the comparison stops there, as the size and capacity were quite different, and they relied on magnetic storage technology. The first 8-inch floppy drives appeared in 1971/1972 and the best models could eventually store 1.2 MB, they were following by 5¼-inch drives later the same decade with 360KB being the most common capacity, and finally 3.5-inch floppy drives coming with either 720 KB or 1.44 MB capacity in the 80’s. The latter were used until the early 2000’s, and I can remember Windows 3.1 being sold with 7 or so floppy drives. They were eventually replaced by CD ROMs, and USB flash drives. I’m writing about this, because I found out that Aliexpress is selling USB floppy disk drives for just under $10 shipped.

If you have working 3.5″ floppy disk drives in 2017, I congratulate you, as I remember backups on floppy drives would not last that long, with data becoming corrupted after a few years. I could not find drives for the older and larger floppy drives. Those larger floppy drives (aka diskettes) are still in use however, and our lives may depend on them, as part of the US nuclear arsenal still rely on 8″ floppy drives.

As a side note, I also discovered today that Aliexpress worked again with PayPal, and they offer a $5 coupon to new users using PayPal. It may only be available in some countries, as I don’t have the option to pay by PayPal yet in Aliexpress.

Thanks to Bruce for the tip.

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