|MadSci Network: Computer Science|
Protecting computers/diskettes in humid conditions? I live in Suriname, on the northern coast of South America. In our humid tropic climate, (temperature between 21 and 31 degree centigrade, relative humidity from 80% up to 95%), the quality of diskettes and other ferromagnetic recording media deteriorates fast. Usually the first problem to occur is that of fungi, covering the diskette surface. The second problem is that of corrosion. These two problems render diskettes unreadable. A secondary problem is that when attempting to use affected diskettes, the build up of contaminants on the drive heads will scratch the surface of the diskettes. This dirt build-up is difficult to remove and normal cleaning diskettes may not suffice. The difficulty is that you can not always see that diskettes are bad and you only notice it when the drive fails to read from it and by that time is already contaminated. Keeping the diskettes in a dry place, like in an air- conditioned room tends to reduce the problem, but is not always possible. People I know have tried cabinets with heating elements to keep their diskettes in, but this did not always solve the problem. The best, but very unpractical, protective measure is to keep diskettes in a closed jar with silica-gel. Once the diskettes have been contaminated it sometimes helps to wipe them of with a soft cloth and 90% alcohol, although this is a tedious job and further damaging of the diskettes can easily occur if you rub to hard. The advantage of alcohol is that it evaporates almost completely. Other cleaning substances might leave behind residues and/or might be aggressive. I am sure that you must me familiar with these problems, as these climatic circumstances are not unique for our country. My questions are: - What would you recommend for storage of diskettes (other than silica-gel)? - Would there be any treatment available to protect diskettes form deteriorating? A fungicide spray or anti-oxidant perhaps? - How would I best treat the diskettes to recover from both problems? Could you for instance advise on an alternative for alcohol? Any chemical substance you know to wipe the diskettes clean which takes away fungi and dirt without damaging the diskette- surface? - Is there pehaps a possibility of chemical reduction of the oxidation/corrosion? - How should I best clean drive heads from the build-up? As I myself, and people I know literally have hundreds of diskettes, some with very important information that can not be used, I would be very grateful for your help. Thank you in advance. Percy van Kanten <email@example.com>
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