The once-omnipresent floppy drive is becoming no more than a memory.

The usage of the floppy disks, which have been around since the 1970's, is in steady decline. Dell and Gateway are the latest manufacturers to stop including a floppy drive on some of their new models, an example set by Apple with the release of the 1998 iMac.

The floppy disks are being outmoded by other forms of removable storage, like writable CDs and keychain flash memory devices, both of which can hold much more data.

According to Gateway spokeswoman Lisa Emard, more and more people are willing to do without a floppy drive, even if some still consider it a familiar security blanket.

"As long as we see customers request it, we'll continue to offer it," she told AP yesterday. "We'll be happy to move off the floppy once our customers are ready to make that move."