What cool stuff can fit on a single floppy disk?

Ok, I know floppy disks are on there way to extinction, but I was in a bit of a discussion with a friend that I think they are still useful, and because of bad programming nothing will fit on one anymore. I know you can do more on a CD or HDD, but anyone know of any cool examples that will fit on a floppy? Links would be nice.

ex. game
gfx/music demos
integrated GUI OS


An unformatted floppy disk can hold 1.44 MB of data on it. Once formatted (ie: made useable for windows) its capacity becomes approx. 1.38 MB. In terms of today’s standards this is a very small amount, and not much will fit on it. To give you an example, a typical MP3 song is approx. 3 MB, which is more than twice the capacity of a floppy disk. Some things you could fit onto a floppy disk are word processing documents, a few pictures (depends on image size, compression, file format), a really old game (ie: super old DOS), very short sound files (ie: MP3 format, less than 1.5 minutes) and anything else that is less than 1.38 MB. Sorry I don’t have any links, but this is just analytical stuff that you can back up by checking file sizes on your own. I still use floppy disks for word documents and physics lab data (.txt files), but other than that they are not very useful.

Well, how about:
[ul][li]Rogue (or any Rogue-like game);[/li][li]FreshUI (XP interface tweaking tool) - 619Kb .exe;[/li][li]IrfanView (multi-format image viewer) - 822Kb .exe.[/li][/ul]

The coolest thing to fit on floppy? Scorched Earth: The Mother of All Games.

Thanks for the ideas, but I was coming from a different perspective. I am talking about self booting floppy diskettes. There are millions of programs that will fit on a floppy that are useful. I am talking about stuff that you launch and say.

“HOW THE HECK DID THEY FIT THIS ON A FLOPPY???” some examples I can give are here:


this is a link to some 4k gfx demos. some of these rival programs 1000s of times their size. Check them out if you have never seen any. They will amaze you. There are also ones in 128 bytes and 512 bytes. Most people do not even know how small a byte is anymore.

Anyone have anything else along this calibar? I am particularly interested in some crazy operating systems that will fit onto a single floppy.


Bad programming has nothing to do with it. Most everything you see today just has too much data to fit on a floppy. And before you ask, it’s not possible to compress arbitrary data that much.

File utility that lets you clone a hard drive. Perfect for when you replace a hard drive with a larger one. You don’t have to reinstall anything.

Lets you copy a file larger than one floppy to X number of floppies.

Active File Comopare
Compares two files. Useful when you have 2 versions of the same document/program/etc. and want to see the differences.

ultra filter, you must be young or don’t know much about coding. People used to write code in machine languages to scruntch the max out of the limited space. Of course as you mention, oyu can’t get a jpeg down too small and mp3s are limited too, but “synthisis” of music and sounds can be done in amazing small amounts of code.
Modern coding techniques ( and OSes ) are way overbloated, and do not do justice to the amazing hardware shipping in modern computers. Take a look over at www.pouet.net and download a demo called

or take a look at

which is an operating enviornment programed by some people who wanted to see how much power and functionality out of a C64 as possible.
The reason I am bringing this up is that I cannot even imagine how awesome computers would be if people were optimizing their code like they used to.



bear in mind that this is only about 78k !

or you could fit about 18 of these on 1 single floppy!


I looked at the graphics you linked to, and I don’t see anything to be really amazed at. Those are all pretty simple pictures, done through geometric transformations on a little data. Contrast that with the art from any computer-animated film, which is highly irregular, involves several million colors, and has a very high level of detail. In short, it requires more to specify.

As far as operating systems go, only the most basic would fit on a floppy. Think MS-DOS.

OK, I cant believe no one has mentioned Hal yet. Hal is a distrobution of linux that fits on to a single floppy disk. There are a few others, but thats the one I can think of off the top of my head.


or are you refering to the GFX on the page I posted? There should be animation, music, gfx, etc… try the attached ZIP link.

The best thing to fit on a floppy are soda cans and sweating glasses. They make marvelous coasters. :wink: You can also fit many low graphic games such as interactive fiction, checkers, go, and chess (not a powerful version) on a single floppy.

A standard HD floppy has “1.44MB” after formatting.

(Actually, 1,474,560 bytes, or 1,440K which is about 1.4M.)

As to the OP, there are versions of Linux that have single floppy boot disks. (The standard floppy boot requires 2 floppies.)

Well, how about dialup/isdn/cable/dsl router/internet gateway, with dns, dhcp, telnet, web interface, print, and time server functionality?

Its one of those Linux based things, and the last time I tried it was unbelievably easy to use (provided you have your head around the networking side of things).Go here: http://www.freesco.info/freesco.org/

There’s also the Linux Router Project which, I believe, has stuff that fits on a floppy disk,

64 kb

64 kb
Am I the only one who thinks this is amazing??

I was sort-of familiar with the demo scene in the 90s, and it’s true, they were pretty amazing. Sometimes I wonder where The Future Crew is now.

As far as “modern coding techniques” causing modern-software bloat, though, I beg to differ. A lot of those demos were written in C, not assembler. The vast majority of the increase in size of executables is due to feature-bloat, not code-bloat. That is, your word processor is large not because the compiler used to write it is inefficiently implemented, but because it has about 10,000 features and options that you’ve never used. The demos, on the other hand, while neat, show you every single feature they’ve got in just a few minutes. They’re a lot of fun, but they just don’t do that much. I’ve spent far more time than I’d like to examining the assembly output of a C compiler, and most of the time, there just wouldn’t be much to gain by writing the code by hand instead.

As far as games go, they’re not always as large as you’d think. The executables for the Quake games were all around 500K, IIRC, meaning you could .ZIP up all three and fit them on your single floppy with room to spare. (And they were written in C also, not assembly.) It’s the already-compressed graphics and sound, as others point out, that take up the vast spaces on a CD-ROM.

Zork I, II and III.

here is where they are now


not much there, but check here:

http://www.pouet.net/groups.php?which=51Anthology of Future Crew Works
Lagged2Death, I get where you are coming from with many of the demos being coded in C or other languages. And you are right, it is not always the compliers crunch ability, but I beg to differ on your begging to differ.

It has become WAY to easy to get lazy in coding. People used to spend hours tweaking out extra cycles of their code for better performance. To many degrees, some progs don’t need to be coded better becasue of the faster CPUs and accelerated GFX cards. Maybe it is just nostalgia, but I think people used to code much more efficiently. Actually, some people still do, and a lot of them are in the demo scene.

Even in the demo scene there is major debate about people slapping an mp3 in some code and calling it a “demo”
There is a cool DVD documentary about the demo scene and history of it, you should check it out, it is really good:

DEMO DVD Project

They encoded a lot of old demos to DVD, so people can enjoy them without having to drag out the old Amiga.


This is not a General Question with a factual answer. This is more Stuff I Must Share.

Off to MPSIMS.

DrMatrix - General Questions Moderator