Salvaging Diskette Data

If a diskette is physically damaged, you may be able to salvage the data by removing the actual diskette medium from its protective sheath. For a 5.25” diskette, take the following steps, which we’ve used successfully more than once:

  1. Use a razor blade or sharp knife to carefully trim about 1/8” (3 mm) from the bottom edge of the protective sheath of another diskette that you don’t care about. The bottom edge is that nearest the drive door when the diskette is inserted into the drive.

  2. Gently squeeze the two edges adjoining the trimmed edge toward the center to open a gap in the trimmed edge. Grasp the plastic medium and gently slide it out of the sheath, leaving the Tyvek inner liner in place. Discard the medium and save the sheath.

  3. Repeat the first step on the damaged diskette, and then remove the medium, touching it as little as possible. Put your finger in the central hub hole and gently press the medium towards the trimmed edge. If you must grasp the medium itself, do so only at the very edge. Be very careful not to bend or deform the medium while you are extracting it.

  4. Gently slide the medium from the damaged diskette into the new sheath that you previously prepared, making sure that the medium is right-side up, fully inserted, and that the hub hole in the medium is centered in the hub hole on the sheath. Rotate the medium gently by using your finger in the hub hole to ensure that it turns easily.

  5. Insert the patched diskette into the drive and attempt ...

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