Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Reader Question Answered: Disposing of Floppies

Proper Way To Erase Floppies If You Don’t Have A Working Drive

Q: Paul I am hoping you can tell me what I should do. I have boxes of old floppy disks and I want to get rid of them. I want to delete the files on them, but I no longer have a computer that has a floppy drive. How can I erase these disks without a drive?

A: Dear Reader,
Let my start my reply by commending you for being aware that it is very important to remove (aka “erase”/”delete”/”shred”) the data from any “memory device” before you dispose of it.

The proper method for destroying files is to run a “shredding” program, (sometimes called “secure delete” — which repeatedly writes a random series of 1’s and 0’s onto the memory) as simply formatting, deleting (or Trash-ing) the files is not enough.
(See, What You Need To Know About “Delete”*.)

Since you do not have a working 3.5″ Floppy drive (the floppy having gone the way of the dodo) you will need to use an “alternative” method to destroy your files and/or the diskettes themselves — and there are many of these. Probably the simplest is to touch the floppy to a reasonably large magnet (such as you will find on the back of old stereo speakers).

A few other methods
Some of the more “heavy duty” document shredders have a slot for shredding CD’s, and some of those can shred floppies. Consult the booklet that came with the shredder.

One fella I know clamps several into a vice, and then drills several good-sized holes; while another cuts them in half with a chop saw (please be careful.. and wear eye protection..).

You can bend them until they snap open, remove the soft brown disk, and cut it in half with scissors.

You can take them to a trusty tech, or Data Destruction service, and pay a modest fee. This last is my reco for most folks.

Today’s free download: Many “utility suites” (and also many “security suites”) have a “secure delete” function, so you may already have a file shredder. But if you don’t, and are planning on disposing of/donating old tech gear, you can download File Shredder

“If you’re looking for a reliable utility for utterly erasing files from your hard drive, you’ll be pleased with File Shredder’s performance. This free tool’s attractive interface is designed for ease of use, and even novices will comprehend its functions right off the bat.”

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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March 30, 2011 - Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, how to, security | , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. TechPaul,
    Thanks for this well written article of excellent advice for those of us who’ve hoarded our old diskettes. Thanks.


    Comment by Paul Lubic, Jr. | March 30, 2011 | Reply

    • Paul Lubic, Jr.,
      I am very happy to see you here again, Paul.. and thank you!

      Folks, Paul writes a wonderful tech blog himself. I hope you will visit his site, Paul’s Home Computing Blog. (I think you’ll be glad you did.)


      Comment by techpaul | March 30, 2011 | Reply

  2. TechPaul,

    Good advice… I’m still running across folks with the old floppies. Remember the 5.25″?



    Comment by Ramblinrick | March 30, 2011 | Reply

    • Rick,
      The truly floppy “floppy”? Yes, yes I do.

      Very early in my “personal computer” experience (the only PCs I actually saw were in offices) if I wanted to type a letter, I had to put a floppy (with WP [Word Perfect] on it.. if I remember..) and if I needed to create a spreadsheet, I had to pull out the text floppy and then put a different floppy in… (1-2-3.. if I remember).

      I wasn’t a tech, nor very interested in computers wwwwaaaayyyy back then. (Hated ’em, actually.. ‘cuz they intimidated me..)


      (Folks, an article I wrote when feeling nostalgic.. A trip back to the land of Mega)


      Comment by techpaul | March 30, 2011 | Reply

  3. Snapping them in half really works. Did about 30 while watching TV.


    Comment by Anonymous | November 4, 2016 | Reply

    • Dear Sir or Ms.

      Yah.. in this day and age, finding a machine that even has a working reader is not easy.


      Comment by techpaul | November 5, 2016 | Reply

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