*Proper Diskette Usage And Care*

Tim Byars (tbyars@cris.com)
Fri, 24 May 1996 10:47:13 -0700

Proper Diskette Usage and Care

Never leave diskettes in the drive, as the data can leak out of the disk
and corrode the innermechanics of the drive. Diskettes should be rolled
up and stored in pencil holders.

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

Do not fold diskettes unless they do not fit into the drive. "Big"
diskettes may be folded and used in "little" drives.

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

Diskettes cannot be backed up by running them through a photocopy machine.
If your data is going to need to be backed 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. When you need to make two copies,
sprinkle iron filings liberally between the diskettes before inserting
them into the drive.

Diskettes should not be removed or inserted into the drive while the red
light is on or flashing. Doing so could result in smeared or possibly
unreadable text. Occasionally, the red light remains flashing in what is
known as a "hung" or "hooked" state. If your system is hooking, you will
probably need to insert a few coins before being allowed to access the

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.

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

Periodically spray diskettes with insecticide to prevent system bugs from

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

"Little" diskettes must be removed from their box prior to use. These
containers are childproof to prevent tampering by unknowledgeable

You can recover data from a damaged disk by using the DOS command
FORMAT/U, or alternately by scratching new sector marks on the disk with
a nail file.

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

Make sure you label your data. Staples are good way to permanently affix
labels to your disks.


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