Chamber of Horrors: Obsolete and Endangered Media - Disks

Click each picture for a larger view.

8" Floppy

8-inch floppy disk

Storage capacity: 100KB - 1+MB
Approximate dates in use: Late 1971-1981
Comments: 8" X 8", 1 5/16" hole in center.
Read about the decline of the floppy disk
Read about the history of the floppy disk

5.25" Floppy

5-inch floppy disks

Storage capacity: 100KB - 1.2MB
Approximate dates in use: 1972-mid-1980s
Comments: Primary mass storage medium during the early days of microcomputing, including the Apple II, TRS-80, Commodore 64, and the original IBM PC.

3.5" Floppy

3.5-inch floppy disks

Storage capacity: 400KB - 2.8MB
Approximate dates in use: 1982-present
Comments: 3 1/2" X 3 1/2" (actually 90mm X 94mm). From 1995 to 2001 floppy-disk sales declined from 5 billion to 1.4 billion.

12" Optical Disk

12-inch magneto-optical disk

Storage capacity: 3.2GB Double-sided
Approximate dates in use: 1985-1992
Comments: Sony 12" write-once-read-many (WORM) magneto optical disk (WDM-3DL0), formatted 1024 bytes/sector, Constant Linear Velocity (CLV).

5.25" Optical Disk

5.25-inch magneto optical disk

Storage capacity: 600MB
Approximate dates in use: 1985-1992
Comments: Sony Magneto Optical Disk EDM-600B, dual-sided rewritable.



Storage capacity: 650MB
Approximate dates in use: 1984-present
Comments: Although they look the same, CDs have changed standards and file naming conventions several times over the years. Many early disks are completely obsolete, and even current standards are susceptible to change. You can read a description of existing CD-ROM standards here.

Floptical Disk

Floptical disk

Storage capacity: 21MB
Approximate dates in use: 1989-1993
Comments: Floptical: "A type of disk drive technology that uses a combination of magnetic and optical techniques to achieve greater storage capacity than normal floppy disks without sacrificing access speeds." Flopticals were unpopular, largely due to high costs and increased competition from Syquest drives.

Zip Disk

Zip disk

Storage capacity: 100MB
Approximate dates in use: 1995-present
Comments: 97mm X 98.5 mm. Iomega later released a 250 MB version of the Zip, as well as the higher-capacity Jazz and Click-disk series. Read more here. "Utilizes Bernoulli's aerodynamic law. The flexible surface is sucked up to the read/write head." Widely used in 1999.

Jaz Disk

Jaz disk

Storage capacity: 1 - 2GB
Approximate dates in use: 1996-2002.
Comments: Introduced a year after the popular Zip disk, the Jaz disk initially held 1GB of data and was later expanded to 2GB.



Storage capacity: 4.7 - 17GB
Approximate dates in use: 1997-present
Comments: DVD is an optical disc storage media format used for playback of movies and data storage. Although they look similar to CDs, DVDs have a much higher data density because, in part, of shorter wavelength lasers. A standard 4.7GB DVD is single-layered, single-side, while larger capacity disks may be multi-layered and double sided. Read more here.


Click! disk

Storage capacity: 40MB
Approximate dates in use: 1998-2001
Comments: Iomega's Click! drive, or PocketZip, was intended as a storage system for portable electronic devices such as cameras, PDAs, and notebook computers. Its relatively small storage size and high cost led to a rapid demise.

Sparq Disk Cartridge

3.5-inch Sparq disk cartridges

Storage capacity: 1GB
Approximate dates in use: 1998
Comments: 3.5" SyQuest Disk Cartridge. The Sparq, along with the SyJet and the EzFlyer, represented SyQuest's contributions to the high-density removable storage field. Shortly after releasing the Sparq, manufacturer SyQuest filed for bankruptcy and was bought by competitor Iomega.