Shred Floppy Disks: 9 Steps (with Pictures)

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Shred Floppy Disks: 9 Steps (with Pictures)
Shred Floppy Disks: 9 Steps (with Pictures)

Many people have floppy disks that just gather dust without knowing what kind of information they contain. While it may be tempting to just throw them all away, it's safest to erase all the information on the floppy disks first. Buy a USB floppy drive to find out what kind of information your floppy disks contain. Then run a secure uninstaller on it or physically destroy the floppy disks. Or you can send the floppy disks to a recycling center or reuse them if you don't care about the data.


Method 1 of 2: Shred floppy disks at home

Destroy Floppy Disks Step 1

Step 1. Check what's on the floppy disks, if you can

Should the diskettes contain important or sensitive information, you may want to get the information off the disks somehow. If you have an old computer with a floppy drive somewhere, try that first. If not, you can look for a floppy disk drive that you can connect to your computer with a USB drive. All major electronics stores sell these external floppy drives.

There are also services that get the data from diskettes for you. However, this can be expensive

Destroy Floppy Disks Step 2

Step 2. Run a 'shredder' program if you can connect the floppy disks

Also known as secure uninstallers, they rewrite the data on floppy disks so that it is completely erased. Insert the floppy disk into the drive and run the program. All data is safely removed from the diskette by the program.

  • Once you run a shredding program, the information on the floppy disks is gone forever. You can reuse the floppy disks or take them to an electronic waste center.
  • This only works if you have a drive for the floppy disks. It may be easier to take the floppy disks apart and physically destroy them.
Destroy Floppy Disks Step 3

Step 3. Run a strong magnet over the floppy disk to erase all data on it

Purchase a neodymium magnet at an office supply store or department store. Rub the magnet over both sides of the diskette. This will mix up all the data on the floppy disk, making it unusable.

Neodymium magnets are extra powerful magnets

Destroy Floppy Disks Step 4

Step 4. Take out the floppy disk and cut it with scissors to physically destroy the data

Remove the rectangular metal piece at the top of the floppy to open it, pull out the spring underneath, then use your fingers to pry open the floppy housing. Cut open the disc inside with scissors. Don't cut it neatly. Random cuts work best for this.

  • The smaller and the more pieces, the better, because otherwise the pieces can be glued back together.
  • You don't have to handle the disk with care. You may just have to be a little rough to open it.
  • Alternatively, after taking the floppy apart, you can place the magnetic tape in a paper shredder.
Destroy Floppy Disks Step 5

Step 5. Burn the floppy outside to destroy it completely

Use a sturdy metal trash can or fire canister. Insert the floppy disks and light them with a long lighter. You may need to use a little lighter fluid and paper or cardboard kindling to get the fire going.

  • The fumes from burning floppy disks are quite strong and poisonous. It's best to burn them outside so you don't inhale the fumes too much. Stand by the fire with the wind at your back.
  • Check the legislation on incineration of waste. In the Netherlands it is not allowed to burn diskettes.

Method 2 of 2: Recycle floppy disks

Destroy Floppy Disks Step 6

Step 1. Send the floppy disks to a diskette recycling center

There are services that extract the data on your floppy disks and send it back to you, then recycle the floppy disks. If you don't need the information on the diskettes, they will just destroy it and then recycle the disk. Some of these services even pay you to ship the floppy disks to them.

In fact, most floppy disks can be reused. Many government agencies still use floppy disks. The others are mostly sold for art projects

Destroy Floppy Disks Step 7

Step 2. Find an electronic waste recycling service near you

Electronics contain parts that can be dangerous for the environment if you dispose of them together with normal waste. Look for certified recycling centers to know where to safely dispose of the floppy disks.

Only dispose of the floppy disks if you are sure they do not contain sensitive or important information

Destroy Floppy Disks Step 8

Step 3. Make a DIY project from the floppy disks

If you're a DIY'er, reuse your old floppy disks to make a new accessory, such as a clock. Glue five floppy disks together with a hot glue gun to make a mini planter or pen holder. Or drill holes in two floppy disks, cut some paper to size and spirally bind them all together to make a notebook.

The only thing that could hold you back when it comes to reusing floppy disks is a lack of imagination

Destroy Floppy Disks Final

Step 4. Done


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