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Subject: Water damage to floppy disks

Water damage to floppy disks

From: David Tremain <david_tremain>
Date: Thursday, January 18, 1996
Mark Clarke <markey [at] gn__apc__org> writes

>Some floppy 3 1/2 inch diskettes were flooded over Christmas, and
>left/not noticed till now. They apparently cannot be read any more.
>What can we do and what could have been done if noticed earlier? Or
>is it just an awful lesson in the importance of the off-site backup?

I read recently (can't remember where unfortunately but I'll try and
find it and get back to you) some procedures for drying them.
Basically, the procedures were as follows:

    1.  If damp, air-dry with hair drier set at low temperature.

    2.  If wet, place in garbage can, plastic tray etc. and keep wet
        in cold, clean water.

    3.  Slit open two edges of the plastic sleeve (do not cut the
        disk itself!) and allow the disk to float out.

    4.  Take a new diskette and slice open two edges of the new
        sleeve; discard new disk itself.

    5.  Insert old disk into new diskette sleeve.

    6.  Copy information onto a new diskette.

    7.  After copying diskette, discard.

As I understand it, loss of data on diskette is probably due to
corrosion of the iron oxide coating of the diskette. These
procedures cannot guarantee that some data will not be loss. I
should point out I have yet to try this method so make no claims for
its success or failure, neither am I an expert in the salvage and
recovery of magnetic media.

Try also reading Miriam Kahn's "Disaster Response and Prevention for
Computers and Data" (Columbus, OH: MBK Consulting) 1994;  Janice
Mohlhenrich (ed) "Preservation of Electronic Formats & Electronic
Formats for Preservation" (Fort Atkinson, WI: Highsmith Press),
1993, pp. 45 - 61, "Disaster Planning"; BMS Catastrophe "Electronic
& Magnetic Media Recovery" (Fort Worth, TX: BMS Cat Inc., Special
technologies Division), no date (but around 1992). Hope this helps,

David Tremain

                  Conservation DistList Instance 9:56
                Distributed: Thursday, January 25, 1996
                        Message Id: cdl-9-56-005
Received on Thursday, 18 January, 1996

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