I got a bunch of disks for transferring. As a routine I do an ocular inspection and make sure the disks rotate before starting the transfer. The only problem was that these disks failed on both parts.

The disks came from a storage unit that had a water leak and the disks were soaked with a mix of water and concrete dust.

Stains of concrete dust. Trying to rotate the disks by hand made a grinding noise. Nothing you’d put in a drive.

The disks were warped since the cushion inside the jacket had gotten wet. No wonder these disks didn’t rotate.

I needed a new disk jacket and to be able to clean up the disks before i could start reading the contents. The disk jacket I got from a donor disk. I used antimagnetic scissors to cut open the disk jackets, both the donor and the disks that I wanted to preserve. The magnetic disk can be moved slightly off-center to gain more space at the top so it won’t be damaged while cutting open the jacket.

When removing the disk, do not touch the magnetic surface. A good tip is to wash your hands with dish-washing liquid to remove grease from your fingers before starting. The disk can be slid out without needing to touch the magnetic surface. You can give the magnetic disk a push by the center hub ring or by the outer edge.

When the magnetic disk is out, use your thumb and pointer finger to hold the disk by the center hub ring and the outer edge. Alternatively put a couple of fingers through the center hub ring. Again, avoid touching the magnetic surface.


I had the disk under running water to rinse the dust off. With a few drops of dish-washing liquid on the fingers of my other hand, I carefully cleaned the surface. I started from the center hole and moved straight out to the outer edge.


Let the disk air dry. Dry wiping is likely to damage the surface. On some stains (or mold!) I used 90% isopropyl alcohol with clean cotton.


After the disk had dried, it was inserted into the donor jacket and I was able to get a good read of the disk.