Ahh, floppy disks. Few things carry nostalgia quite like a floppy — either 3 1⁄2 or 5 1⁄4, depending on which generation of hacker you happen to be. (And yes, we hear you grey-beards, 8-inch floppies were definitely a thing.) The real goodies aren’t the floppies themselves, but what they carried, like Wolfenstein 3d, Commander Keen, DOS, or any number of other classics from the past. Unfortunately a bunch of floppy disks these aren’t carrying anything anymore, as bit rot eventually catches up with them. Even worse, on some trashed floppies, a format operation fails, too. Surely, these floppies are destined for the trash, right?
Well, hold on. [AnotherMaker] discovered something that might breathe a little more life into those dead disks — magnets! To be specific, he’s using a Degausser, namely the Realistic Bulk Tape Eraser, though enough time with a strong magnet would probably work, too. Thoroughly treat the disk, pop it back into the vintage machine, and there’s a decent chance it happily formats. Now all that’s left is to figure out why.
Is this an alignment problem, where multiple drives have written in slightly different places, and the read heads are picking up these errant areas even after the write head starts to format? Or maybe there’s a spot in the disk that is going bad, and the stronger magnetic field is required to reset the floppy’s field. Let us know your guess, or if you know the answer, fill us in!