Difference between Hard Disk and Floppy Disk

In computers, different types of disks are used to store data and information. The two most popular types of disks are hard disk and floppy disk. Both hard disk and floppy disk are the type of secondary storage devices used to store permanent data and information. The primary difference between hard disk and floppy disk is that the hard disk is made of aluminum, while the floppy disk is made up of plastic.

In this article, we will discuss the important differences between hard disk and floppy disk. But before that let us first discuss the basics of hard disk and floppy disk. So, let’s get started with the introduction to hard disk.

What is Hard Disk?

Hard Disk (HDD) is a secondary storage device used in computers to store data permanently. Hard disk is made up of a series of circular disks (called platters), these platters are arranged one over the other almost ½ inches apart around a spindle. The platters or disks of hard disk are made up of non-magnetic materials like aluminum alloy and are coated with a layer of 10-20 nm of a magnetic material on both sides.

In a hard disc, the standard diameter of an aluminum disk is of 14 inches. Hard disks generally rotate at a speed between 4200 rpm (rotations per minute) for personal computers and 15000 rpm for servers. In the hard disks, the data is stored by magnetizing or demagnetizing the magnetic coating on the disks.

To read data from and write data on to the disks, a magnetic reader arm/head is used. A typical modern hard disk has storage capacity in terabytes (TB).

What is Floppy Disk?

A floppy disk is also a type of secondary storage device used for storage of data and information. Floppy disk is also known as a floppy diskette, or floppy. The floppy disk is basically an old storage device that was used in early computers to store data electronically. Floppy disk was an expensive memory device because it was one of the first type of hardware storage device developed by IBM in 1967. Floppy disk was used as a portable data storage medium.

There are many types of floppy disks present such as 8-inches floppy disk, 5 ¼ inches floppy disk, 3 ½ inches floppy disk, and zip disk. The major advantages of floppy disk include portability, compatibility to different systems, etc. However, the operational speed of floppy disks is slow, and also, they have a limited storage space. These days, the floppy disks are not being used as a data storage device.

Difference between Hard Disk and Floppy Disk

The important differences between hard disk and floppy disk are listed in the following table −


Hard Disk

Floppy Disk

Basic description

Hard disk is a type of magnetic memory made up of non-magnetic materials and is used for data storage in computers.

Floppy disk is a type of magnetic memory made up of plastic and used for permanent data storage.

Made up of

Hard disks are made of a metal like aluminum.

Floppy disk is made of flexible plastic material.

Number of platters/disks

Hard disk can have more than 1 platter arranged one on the top of the other to form a disk pack.

Floppy disk always consists of a single disk or platter.

Disk rotation

Hard disks rotate continuously until the computer is switched off.

Floppy disks only start rotating when they are required to read or write data.


Hard disk has a spindle which is free to rotate and holds the platters together in a disk pack.

Floppy disk has a spindle hole.

Mechanical strength

As hard disks are made up of metallic material, hence they are usually rigid.

Floppy disks are made of plastic, they are can easily bend.

Storage capacity

Hard disks have high storage capacity.

Floppy disks have low storage capacity.

Data security

Hard disks provide improved data security.

Floppy disks provide poor data security.

Data accessibility

Hard disks have faster data accessibility.

Floppy disks have slow data accessibility.


Hard disk is more reliable storage media.

Floppy disk is a less reliable storage media as compared to hard disk.


Hard disk stores data at high speed.

Floppy disk stores data at low speed.


Hard disk comes in two standard sizes, i.e. 3.5'' HDD and 2.5''HDD.

Floppy disk comes in three standard sizes, i.e. 8'' FDD, 5.25'' FDD, and 3.5'' FDD.


Hard disks are relatively more expensive.

Floppy disks are cheaper than HDD.


Hard disks are long lasting storage devices.

Floppy disks are prone to get damaged easily.

Susceptible to viruses

Hard disks are less susceptible to viruses.

Floppy disks are more susceptible to viruses.

Used these days

Hard disk is widely used these days.

Floppy disks are not used these days.


Hard disks are extensively used in modern computers as a main secondary storage device.

Floppy disks were used in old computers for permanent data storage.


Hard disks are modern memory devices used in computers as main secondary storage. On the other hand, floppy disks are old storage devices which are not used these days. However, both are types of magnetic memory devices. The most significant difference between a hard disk and a floppy disk is that a hard disk is made up of metals like aluminum, while a floppy disk is made up of plastic.

Updated on: 04-Apr-2023

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