- A History of Removable Storage

From paper tape to USB sticks

Benj Edwards, PC World

The problem of how to store electronic data goes hand-in-hand in with the evolution of computers. In the beginning, there were so few computers in existence (none of them compatible with any others), digital pioneers had little need for portable software.

Soon, however, companies like IBM began selling multiple identical computers, and users sought a way to program the devices more efficiently, to move programs from computer to computer, and to reload programs later with a minimum of hassle.

Thus begins the history of removable computer storage, which in many ways is the story of software distribution: The first job of removable storage was to share software without requiring any reprogramming from scratch.

We've revisited dozens of ways that engineers have solved the problem over the past 60 years.

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