Sunday, April 22, 2007

The 5.25" Floppy Disk

This is a busy month for me. Too busy that I wasn't able join my wife and daughter when they went to Iligan last Holy Week. I spent my Holy Week in my parent's house where I had time to dig through my old stuffs that I left there after I got married. They where still neatly packed the way I kept and arranged them when I was still single. No cobwebs, no dust, thanks to my mom. Now it's time to digitize a part of history before time wears them out and finally taken away from me completely.

I started college in 1989 knowing only one kind of diskette - the now extinct 5.25 inch floppy diskette that was capable of storing 1.2MB of precious data. Pretty lame if you compare it to today's 4GB USB flash drives and 8.5GB dual-layer DVD rewritable disks.


But it was good for us back then. The computers I rented had monochrome display, no hard disk drive, no CD drive and had two 5.25" floppy disk bays. I go to school carrying a floppy disk case containing 10 diskettes - thats 12MB total capacity. What do I have in my diskette case?

  • One floppy disk serves as my boot disk containing MS-DOS 5.0, Central Point Antivirus (CPAV) and a configuration file to allocate a part of the 16MB PC memory as a 1.2MB RAMdrive where I upload my softwares for direct memory access thus eliminating the long floppy drive access time. This single 1.2MB floppy disk was my complete operating system and anti-virus. Today, this 1.2MB floppy disk is equivalent to a 20GB HDD containing Microsoft Vista and McAfee Antivirus. Full bootup to DOS prompt takes 30 seconds or less. Hehe.
  • One floppy disk for Wordstar 4.0 (equivalent to present day MS Word)
  • One floppy disk for Lotus 123 (equivalent to present day MS Excel)
  • One floppy disk for Norton Disk Doctor (same name today but bigger in size)
  • One floppy disk for OrCAD (a CAD software for drawing circuit schematics)
  • One floppy disk for PCtools (great PC hacking tool - you can find and replace common MS-DOS messages and customize it or make it Tagalog if you want)
  • One floppy disk for Turbo Pascal 5.5 (an object oriented programming language)
  • Two floppy disks for Newsmaster II (for making title pages of reports with graphics and borders)
  • A floppy or two for data and games like Testdrive, Tetris and Prince of Persia.


Early 90's Common Rental PC specs

  • Intel 80286 or 80386 processor
  • 12MHz clock speed with turbo button to beef up the speed to 25MHz
  • Loud PC system speaker capable of sounding off beeps in every possible tone immaginable - beep! beep! beep!
  • Two 5.25" floppy disk bays
  • 16MB RAM
  • no video card
  • no surround sound system
  • no CD drive
  • no headset
  • no hard disk drive
  • no LAN connection, no network games
  • no Internet, no Friendster, no Blogs, no Chat

But we were just as happy with what we have them as what students now have. It was enough. By the time I graduated college, the newer 3.5" floppy disk with 1.44MB capacity shared world domination with the 5.25" floppy disk. New rental PCs came out with one 5.25" floppy drive and one 3.5" floppy drive. Now in 2007, desktop PC specs considers 3.5" floppy drives as optional accessory and 5.25" disk drives are a thing of the past.

Let me give the 5.25" floppy disk a big Thanks for letting me survive my college days.


Luisa said...

wow naman..hahaha i remember that big diskette.sinisira namin yun tapos susulatan namin yung sa loob gamit ang snow pake yung puti hahaha ibibigay namin sa mga crushes namin immature hehehe

duke said...

hahaha! i remember having to have 2 floppies back then. one to boot up and then the other was for wordstar. hanggaleng ko nun sa wordstar. umabot pa ako ng wordstar 7.0. kala ko dati floppy disk tawag sa kanya kse sobra syang floppy. Tapos hard disk yung maliit kse matigas. hahahaha.

Billycoy said...

i remember those, pero ako naabutan ko na yung mga 3.5" floppy disks. wordstar, the photoshop of yesterday... at di pa uso ang internet!

Culture Shiok! said...

Wow... 5.25 floppy!

Hahaha! grade 6 ako ng una kong naintindihan ang paggamit ng computer...

meron pa akong inabutan na 5.25 floppy nung high school sa Notre Dame.

Verbatim Nostalgia!

Lucid Dreamer said...

i recently threw away a couple of boxes of my 3.25 diskettes. nothing important inside naman, i just copied old love letters sent by my exs back when edsamail was free. hahaha~

Sleeves said...


Homage to the 5.25" disc