A device that accepts flexible magnetic disks, i.e. floppy disks, and reads or writes magnetic patterns that correspond to the data to be retrieved or stored. The data is encoded in one of the appropriate disk formats. The floppy disk is put into the mechanism through a slot that is normally covered by a hinged flap or door. The mechanism automatically locates and clamps the disk and rotates it at a speed of 300 rpm. The read/ write heads contact the disk through apertures in its cover.
The floppy-disk drive was first introduced by IBM as a diagnostic software load device but it has been used extensively as a data storage and transfer device on small computing systems. With the increased use of rewritable CDs and other types of removable storage and of the Internet for data transfer, the use of these drives has declined.see also disk drive.