8 inch floppies, decaying

steven at malikoff.com steven at malikoff.com
Tue Jul 10 23:14:56 CDT 2018

Chuck reckoned
> No, no, no! Do not use isopropanol to clean floppies--you'll wind up
> with a soft oxide coating and a brown rag.  Were these mine, I'd first
> remove them from their jackets and then bake them and then clean them
> with distilled water and perhaps a couple of drops of a wetting agent
> (Kodak Photo-flo is a good) choice--a couple of drops goes a long way).
> You should be good to go--at least my experience tells me that.

Well, I suggested IPA (to Chuck's horror) so decided to put my money where my mouth is and try it myself.

Using a 38-year old 8" IBM Diskette 1 (128-bit sectors) that I had lying around (it's physically damaged) I proceeded
to clean it with high-grade IPA and a cotton bud as I suggested.

After a good scrubbing, no detectable oxide came off at all. It even looked a tiny bit cleaner on the area I tried.

Diskette:  http://www.surfacezero.com/g503/data/500/diskette_1.jpg

Before:	   http://www.surfacezero.com/g503/data/500/diskette_before.jpg

After:	   http://www.surfacezero.com/g503/data/500/diskette_after.jpg

So there you have it. I'm not asserting that all diskettes were manufactured as well as this IBM one but I stand by
what I suggested, I would certainly try IPA again if I had to. By the 1970s I would think a diskette surface had come a
long way from my dad's RAMAC days and even the 1/2" magnetic tape from the 50s and 60s, where I would be considerably
more reticent trying this.


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