The floppy disk has been dead for a while now. It’s just too small and too slow. I haven’t really used them for anything other than a boot disk for years. Even network drivers don’t fit in 1.44 megs anymore. USB Flash drives serve the purpose of floppies now. However, I didn’t realize just how dead they were until yesterday.
While rummaging through an old laptop bag of mine, I ran across a disk from college which contained my senior honors thesis on it. I have a web-copy of the document but had managed to lose the original word format version. It was when I went to go retrieve the document from the disk that I realized just how dead floppy disks are. Out of the 6 computers in my house (4 desktops, 2 laptops), only my kids’ computer still even has a floppy drive in it. While I have drives sitting around, I don’t bother to hook them up any more when I build a new computer.
I don’t know how typical my experience is but most new machines don’t come with floppy drives any more. The venerable 3.5″ floppy disk is so antiquated that it is becoming difficult to even find a drive to read it in. What has been one of the most stable parts of the PC since near its inception is now nearly extinct. How much data is sitting around on disks in drawers, filing cabinets, etc. that we’ll be unable to access very shortly?