Proper Diskette Care and Usage

3.5-inch diskettes could hold only 1.44 MB, but were the standard means of backing up and storing your data in the 1990s. By 2000 they were made obsolete by CD-R discs and later, USB thumb drives.

1. Never insert a disk into the drive upside down. The data can fall off the surface of the disk and jam the intricate mechanisms of the drive.

2. Diskettes should be cleaned and waxed once a week. Microscopic metal particles can be removed by waving a powerful magnet over the surface of the disk. Any stubborn metallic shavings can be removed with scouring powder and soap. When waxing diskettes, make sure application is even. This will allow the diskettes to spin faster, resulting in better access time.

3. Diskettes cannot be backed up by running them through a photo copy machine. To back up, simply insert TWO diskettes into your drive. Whenever you update a document, the data will be written onto both disks. A handy tip for more legible backup copies: Keep a container of iron filings at your desk. Sprinkle iron filings liberally between the diskettes before inserting them into the drive.

4. If your diskette is full and needs more storage space, remove the disk from the drive and shake vigorously for two minutes. This will pack the data enough (data compression) to allow for more storage. Be sure to cover all openings with scotch tape to prevent loss of data.

5. Data access time may be greatly improved by cutting more holes in the diskette jacket. This will provide more simultaneous access points to the disk.

6. Periodically spray diskettes with insecticide to prevent computer bugs from spreading.

7. You can keep your data fresh by storing disks in the vegetable compartment of your refrigerator. Disks may be frozen, but remember to thaw by microwaving or briefly immersing in boiling water.

8. Diskettes become "hard" with age. It's important to back up your "hard" disks before they become too brittle to use.

[author and source unknown]
(edited by David Van Alstyne)
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