Floppy disks were invented at a time when portable data storage was not well-developed for the home user. Devices for portable media existed, but their storage capacity was small and they were usually quite large. The floppy disk came onto the scene and was smaller and held more data than most pre-existing models. Now, floppy disks are somewhat outdated, but still offer a cheap option for creating backup, storing small files, and storing collections in many small parts. The following considerations will help you to store your delicate floppy disks (and invaluable data!) in a way that will minimize damage.
- Beware of magnets. Exposure to magnets can interfere with the storage of your floppy's media, which is, of course, stored in magnetic fields. Brief exposure to powerful magnets can erase data from a floppy disk, but more often, long-term exposure is the culprit.
- Beware of moisture. Don't let your floppy disks get moist! Like most other equipment, floppy disks don't respond well to moisture. Water inside a disk can interfere with the processes the disk needs to operate. Keep disks away from water and damp places, and wipe them off quickly and transfer data if they get wet.
- Don't bend or jab! Floppy disks are made rather thin, and can snap right in half if too much stress is placed on their sides. Handle them delicately and don't stuff them into tight places (besides your floppy drive). Likewise, don't take any sharp or pointy objects to your floppy disks -- and this includes pencils and pens. Be careful, while you write the label on your floppy disks, that you don't drag the utensil too heavily into the disk, warping the mechanism.
- Keep clean and cool. Don't let your floppies sit in the sun or in overly warm places. Again, as with most other computer equipment, floppy disks will warp or melt in high temperatures. Also, don't let too much dust get on the vulnerable parts of your floppy disks -- underneath the sliding flap at the top, for instance. This is the part of the disk that the computer uses to communicate information, and if it is dirty, the computer will have trouble responding to it.
- Try to keep your floppy disks organized. To do so, you can keep them in any kind of box, or buy a plastic box designed for holding floppy disks (these boxes have been around in computer stores since floppies were invented!). You can organize floppies by type of data (MIDI files, images, .exe files), by category (wedding pictures, birthday pictures, Mozart MIDIs, rock MIDIs), or by any other personal preference. Keep them in a place that is easily accessible, but not vulnerable to outside forces.
Overall, most things you can do to keep your floppy disks safe and in order can be identified by common sense. Never do anything to them that you wouldn't do with another piece of sensitive equipment. Always keep backups of any and all information you transport on floppy, in case the above steps aren't enough to keep your information safe. Use the low cost and high compatibility of the floppy disk to your advantage, but remember that the floppy disk is a delicate and primitive form of data storage. Keep yours safe and organized.