Remember these? … they are called 3.5″ floppy disks

Floppy disks ... 208 of them

Do you remember what these are called? Ah, the good old days when you had to install operating systems from floppy disk. For MS-DOS 6.2 it took 3 disks, Windows 3.1 used 6, Windows for Workgroups 3.11 occupied 8 plus one for mouse drivers, while — can you believe? — Windows 95 was shipped on 24 floppies!

A to B on floppy diskAnd PC magazines were sold with 3.5″ disks sellotaped to the front covers. This was the AA‘s A to B UK Route Planner application that was shipped with the September 1997 issue of PC Pro. Not only was it a great application (it showed no maps, it just described where you should go!) but I loved the fact that it said “Requires Microsoft Windows” on the label. A warning to all those late-90s die-hard DOS fans that maybe it was time to upgrade after all! (I moved from my job in London in 1997, where one of the offices was still running a Novell Netware DOS network … ah, what fond memories of the complexities of WordPerfect 5 for DOS!)

Anyhow, as part of my PC restoration process, this evening I sorted out my collection of 3.5″ floppy disks. I discovered that (astonishingly) I have 208 of them, including 5 DSDD 135TPI disks for the Apple Mac SE (which were state of the art when I was at university!).

Most of the disks have now been backed up to hard disk (once again!) and again onto CD-ROM. I must only have transferred about 100 of the disks to CD as it took up only 146MB. That’s not even 1/4 of the space available on a CD-R, and it’s about 1/32 of a DVD! How things have changed.

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

2 thoughts on “Remember these? … they are called 3.5″ floppy disks”

  1. We’re now getting to that point with CDROMs. It won’t be long before we reminisce “I remember when Windows could be installed off only one CD”. I wouldn’t be surprised if Windows Vista was to be released on DVD-ROM only.

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