While doing some spring cleaning, we came across 160 3.5" floppy disks and various accessories. As no doubt some have personal data, I decided to check any that were clearly not driver or equipment disks.
To my surprise, around 80% of them were fully readable despite most containing data before the millennium! This includes 7 Windows 3.1 disks that came with a PC my uncle bought in 1992, all which fully read. Some of the rest just had one or two unreadable files.
As there is still a small demand for them (e.g. retro PC hobbyists, old floppy driven electronics and industrial equipment), I decided to auction them off.
I spent a full day formatting disks one by one until I reached 100 disks that fully formatted without bad sectors. I put the rejects in a separate stack. I can now see why most used disks sold on eBay are untested as it took about 3 minutes to format each floppy disk, despite the disks only having a puny capacity of 1.44MB.
These are the 100 disks that formatted with no bad sectors reported:
These are the 24 rejects, including a few with bad doors:
Spot the difference…
Of the 100 good disks, 99 have black plastic and the remaining one is blue, across various brands.
Of the 24 defective disks, there are 11 black, 4 blue, 2 grey, 2 red, 2 beige, 1 green, 1 white and 1 yellow, also across various brands.
The floppy disks were all stored in a dark loft, so they certainly were not affected by light. It makes me wonder whether coloured plastic affects other media such as memory cards and USB flash drives.