Cleaning the Floppy Disk Drive

Before generating the necessary floppies, you will need to clean the floppy disk drive, because in most cases the drive will be full of dust inside and the read/write heads will de dirty. So, there is no point in generating the disks if your computer won’t be able to read them because its floppy disk drive is dirty.

The easiest way to clean the floppy disk drive is by pushing some compressed air through the frontal opening of the disk drive, and then using a special cleaning disk that instead of having a magnetic disk inside, has a cleaning disk that you must wet with isopropyl alcohol. If you don’t have an air compressor, you can buy a can of compressed air, which is easily found in office supplies stores such as Office Depot and OfficeMax.

However, we recommend cleaning the floppy disk drive “the hard way,” by disassembling the computer. You can seize the opportunity to clean the interior of your computer, which probably will be very dusty.

To open the computer, you will need a Torx TT15 screwdriver at least nine inches (230 mm) long (sold on eBay as “Macintosh opening tool”). With this special screwdriver, remove the four or five screws located at the back of the computer. Note that on models with a battery compartment, there is a screw inside this compartment. See Figure 2.

Screws that must be removedFigure 2: Screws that must be removed

After the screws are removed, simply pull the computer’s back cover. You will probably need to place the computer’s front panel on top of a table to do that; don’t forget to use a blanket or a piece of cloth to avoid scratching the computer’s front panel and/or the screen.

With the cover removed, you will need to disconnect the power supply cable and the floppy disk drive cable from the motherboard. See Figure 3.

Cables that must be removedFigure 3: Cables that must be removed

Cables removedFigure 4: Cables removed

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.