What's the market for floppy disks these days?

Amazon has a bunch in stock, and I think they’re generally available at most computer stores. Who’s buying them these days?

The local employment center uses them, so they bring them here to the library, where we have to transfer them to CDs for the patrons since we don’t have any computers that take them anymore. Also, some of the local schools only have floppy drives, so again we have to do all that transferring crap.

They’re cheaper than fancier brands of coasters.

Professionally, I maintain some Windows NT Workstation systems used to store video by a number of businesses.
They have LS-120 drives and no CD-ROM.
In order to reload software, the system must be booted from a floppy diskette loaded with Caldera DR-DOS and a DOS driver for the LS-120.
From that point, we swap the floppy diskette out of the LS-120 drive device, install an LS-120 disk and run GHOST in order to load our unique software load on said machine.
We originally sold these workstations for $5K to $10K and our customers continue to use them.
We’ve been trying quite hard to sell replacement units for 3-5 years, but certain customers continue to replace hard disks in these units when they wear out rather than replacing them.
I’m guessing we’ll stop official support for the product within 1-3 years, but have heard nothing yet from management.

The low end of the computer market is still clinging to their floppies like grim death. I have a bunch of blank ones, and give files to some people I know, because that is the only medium I have that they know how to use. I must admit, I am very much at the low end of the market, though.


We still have some medical equipment that does backups to, and installs updates from, floppies.

Older keyboard synthesizers use floppy drives to load sound files, and don’t have a USB option. Why throw away a perfectly good musical instrument, when a replacement costs thousands or tens of thousands of dollars?

My answer to the OP: users of high-end equipment that is 10 years old or more, which uses floppies, and is not even close to the end of its useful lifespan, unlike a computer os a similar age.

I have a friend who is blind, and she still uses a lot of floppy disks. She even had me help her set up a USB floppy drive so she could continue to use them.

She says this is fairly common in the blind community – they find floppy disks easier to use than CDs or DVDs. Maybe because they can put bigger labels or Braille markings on them? Also, a lot of people have older portable equipment (note takers, etc.) that writes to floppy disks.

Neat answer. Electronic test equipment used floppies until relatively recently, so anyone with a well-equipped lab will need to hang onto floppies for a few years yet.

The new Dell PC I bought a year or so ago came with a floppy drive, which was an absolute necessity as without it my minimal IT skills wouldn’t have enabled me to wipe Vista and replace it with XP. There’s life in the old A: drive yet.

You can determine the correct orientation to insert a floppy by feel alone. Some CD’s you could determine the data side from the label side by feel, but you might smudge the data side, and if you can’t see the smudge to clean it off, it would be a pain.

I can see, damn it, and I still try to put the USB connector in upside down half the time.

I have some legacy manufacturing tools that I support that still use floppy disks for loading recipes. Floppy drives are finally gone on most of the current generation of industrial panel PCs though.

Probably the same people who buy word processor ribbons.

Sequential thread titles will answer your question:

What’s the market for floppy disks these days?
Ninja Throwing Stars

Most motherboards continue to have the connector for a floppy drive

Since a floppy drive is currently $7.99 on Newegg, I bought one when I built my current compy.

I’ve never used it, but for $7.99 it’s not really hurting me. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll dig up my old Sierra game floppies and see what I can still get to run.

They make USB ones as well. Not very useful for DOS, though, which is the only thing I can think a floppy drive would be good for. Or maybe getting data off of old floppies to copy to CD/DVD.

RAID drivers can often only be loaded from a floppy during the windows install process.

BIOS flashes on not all that old of machines also often require a floppy.

This. I needed a RAID driver for my 2008 ASUS motherboard so that I could do a new install of Windows 7 on my new set up. ASUS’s website & bundled CD didn’t provide a driver, but DID provide an exe that would image a 1.44 floppy, to be provided during set up of W7. Note that they DIDN’T just include the pre-imaged floppy in the box the motherboard came in.

Note that I haven’t had a floppy drive in my computer since 2004…I don’t even think they make FDD connectors on motherboards these days…even IDE is becoming more and more rare.

Anyway, long story short, I finally found a third party website which had the files, which I put onto a 16GB USB stick (or the equivalent of 16,000 floppies!) and Windows 7 mounted it. Although I’m pretty sure that anything older than Vista will DEMAND a floppy, because I used to have an IDE expansion card which needed a floppy for Windows setup to recognize it, unless I installed to a internally-connected harddrive and then just downloaded the driver later.

What? Really? They store video on a DOS system? They don’t run into problems with filesystem file size limits and such?

I recently found a box of very colorful floppies way in the back of a desk drawer at work. I showed them to my boss and he didn’t care if I took them, none of the work computers take them. I think they’re just 1.2MB each? Not even enough for one picture. They make great coasters at home!

Mr. Slant didn’t say he stored video on 1.44MB floppies, he just booted from them. The system he described stores video on a hard drive and can read/write either 120MB or 240MB on a LS-120 medium in the same drive that reads 1.44MB floppies. Obviously their backup is severely limited.

They’re probably either 720KB or 1.44MB, most likely the latter if they say “HD” on the label or molded into the case.

If they only have a single square hole near the edge with a slider to cover it (open=read-only) they are low density (720K for PCs). If they have a second square hole with no slider they are high density (1.44M).

I’ve used REAL floppies (i.e. they aren’t rigid and flex if you wave them around). I wonder if it is possible to buy 5 1/4" or 8" floppies any more?