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Old 06 September 2011, 01:34   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Sidcup, England
Posts: 10,300
If you end up having to attempt recovery of these disks yourself, you will need to crack open the enclosure of each disk and remove the vinyl disk and stainless steel hub. Both recording surfaces of the disk should be cleaned by rubbing with a lint-free cloth wetted with isopropyl alcohol (IPA or propanol) to remove the mould growth and then left to dry thoroughly.

As you have noted, the mould is not easily visible; it appears as thousands of microscopically small spots, but its presence is revealed by the squealing noise which results whenever the disk spins up in the drive.

The bond between the disk and hub is made with an annulus of double-sided sticky tape, so it is important to keep the solvent away from this vulnerable region.

IPA is also suitable for removing deposits from the floppy drive heads caused by them coming into contact with the mould. This is better done with a cotton-tipped bud soaked in the solvent rather than by using a proprietary floppy drive cleaning disk and left to dry thoroughly afterwards.

To obviate the risk of contaminating the cleaned disk by replacing it in the original enclosure, it is best to mount it in a fresh enclosure donated from a much newer floppy disk, before attempting to read it. If the donor disk was a high density type, remember to cover the HD sensing hole with sticky tape to mimic a double density enclosure.

I hope this helps.
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