300 floppy disks to destroy

As we clean out our basement I came across ~ 300 old floppy disks. They’re everything from old Dos and BBS stuff to PC Gamer disks and my finances. Paying to have a service destroy them is pricey I think so is there a better way to do it? I’m thinking of letting the kids take a hammer to them outside, but on the flip side that might be way to messy and take too long?

Alternate ideas? or is that the best one?

Is paying to destroy them more expensive than renting a wood chipper for an hour?

One liter of gasoline and a lighter is all you need.

If you can find an old degausser somewheres that would do the trick without any flying fragments or toxic outgassing…

I think I still have one in my basement someplace. Basically it’s a 3’ diameter coil with a transformer and a AC plug. Anything magnetizable that is passed through the middle will become magnetic (good for screwdrivers), and anything recording magnetic data that is passed through will just become a mess. Within about 6’ of a CRT tube, it will make it all squirrely, but with the proper technique you can clear any persistent magnetic anomalies on the screen. Obsolete for many years now since a) monitors started coming with their own built in degaussers, and b) what, CRTs? Do they still sell CRTs?

Do you have some kind of heavy-duty cutting shears? I would think that would do the trick with relatively little mess.

Depends on what your goals are. If you’re worried about the FBI finding out about your closet full of beautiful filipino boys or dudes stealing your social security number, smashing them with a hammer technically only breaks them in the sense that you can’t put them in the computer any more. The dudes at the CIA who do this for a living could still recover data from them. I’m guessing that’s not the case.

I would agree that a degausser is a good option, or barring that, at least running a nice big bar magnet over each disk on the way out. I’m not sure I’d let the children go taking them apart - I have no idea how toxic the chemicals on them are, but my guess is that you probably shouldn’t go getting it all over your fingers. Burning will also destroy them but will create fumes.

A VCR tape eraser will erase floppies very nicely. I’m not sure you can erase them thoroughly with a permanent magnet, though.

In lieu of a degausser/demagnetizer, you could just cut them in half with shears (the leveraged kind).

For the love of whatever you hold dear, do not burn floppies or any other household plastic. Major toxic cancer-causing fumes will result.

If these are 5.25" disks, a mid-grade paper shredder will work just fine. If these are 3.5" disks, you can take a hammer to them. As mentioned, destroying the contents may require a magnet or otherwise physically shredding the data-bearing portion of the disk. I wouldn’t worry about toxic chemicals or substances unless you burn them or otherwise reduce them to powder (will it blend?).

For a more art & crafts approach, you could try making a bag: http://www.instructables.com/id/Floppy_Disk_Bag_Install_Disk_2/

  • Alan

Uhh… throw them the fuck out?

You think some bum in a land fill is going to see your pile of floppy disks and salivate over the thought of the massive amounts of monetary gain he can gleam from financial records?

Soak them in some orange juice maybe?

300 floppies ought to fit in one hefty bag with plenty of room to spare. The hefty bag can then be thrown in the trash. Why does the solution need to be any more complicated than that?

The data is secure simply because computers don’t come with floppy drives anymore and the chances of some trash-diving criminal also happening to have the background and equipment to recover and use the data off of ancient floppies is about nil.

You could line them up and see how much stopping power they had against various 20 gauge shot.

Have little kids use them to make your own jigsaw puzzles!