Monday, March 5, 2012
How to Get Rid of Floppy Disks
The first thing I dealt with today was about 100 floppy disks. I didn't want to toss them without deleting old tax returns and whatever the heck else was saved on them. I looked but I don't have a computer left in the house that has a floppy disk drive. [So why, you ask, do you still have 100 floppy disks? To which I have no answer except - duh!]
I hooked up with my friend Google to find out the best way to destroy information on floppy disks so material is irretrievable for good and all. I found I could hire a service to do it, or I could use some sort of heavy-duty magnet (but it didn't say how or where you applied the magnet); or I could buy another floppy disk drive that would rewrite my "stuff" as 0s and 1s; or I could buy some degaussing equipment (whatever that is.) OR, my choice - physically destroy them.
Now this was actually fun, and with no instruction whatsoever, it took me only about an hour to break all 100 disks into their component parts, with just a small amount of bloodshed on one knuckle. (The screwdriver slipped, the floppy plastic is a little sharp, and there are tiny, tiny wire needles inside - not sure which bit me). The metal or plastic sliding covers slipped off easily. I pried the plastic covers apart with the screwdriver and took out the actual tapes, and slid the round metal disk from the middle of each one. The picture shows what I wound up with after taking the first few apart. The round CD-shaped tapes (which really are floppy) went into my shredder just fine, although they were a little sticky, so to help them through the cutters, I stuck some of them on pieces of paper from my to-be-shredded pile. The last few I just chopped up with a pair of scissors.
I am happy to report the top shelf of the pesky cabinet now holds only a small slide picture viewer, my computer's external Zip drive, and a favorite sturdy grass-woven basket holding the extra-long "Q-tips" for removing dust and crumbs from my computer keyboard and gunk from the printer.
I am clearing space in my office for Rubbermaid Totes to organize my Unstuffings: Sell, Donate, Toss, Think About! They will no doubt be filling up quickly, but since thinking too far ahead is daunting, that's not going to be part of this game.