Cleaning the Floppy Disk Drive (Cont’d)

The next step is to remove the motherboard. For that, you need to place the computer standing on its front panel. Use a cloth or a blanket to protect the computer’s front panel. Simply slide the motherboard up, as shown in Figure 5.

Removing the motherboardFigure 5: Removing the motherboard

If your motherboard is dirty, use a toothbrush to clean it.

Next, you need to remove the floppy disk drive cage, which is attached to the computer’s chassis using four Philips screws. See Figure 6.

Remove the screws of the drive cageFigure 6: Remove the screws of the drive cage

Remove the cage from the computer. The floppy is attached to the cage using another four screws (two at each side), which must be removed.

Remove the screws of the floppy disk driveFigure 7: Remove the screws of the floppy disk drive

Floppy disk drive (this is an 800 KB model)Figure 8: Floppy disk drive (this is an 800 KB model)

Finally, you have the floppy disk drive outside the computer. Clean it with compressed air (either using an air compressor or buying a can of compressed air, which is sold in office supply stores). You can also use a toothbrush to clean it.

We also recommend that you test the drive’s eject mechanism, which oftentimes is stuck. For that, insert a floppy disk into the drive, and then push the manual mechanism available on the right side of the drive. If the mechanism is stuck, you will have to study how it works and see why the floppy is not being ejected. You can lubricate the mechanical parts of the drive with WD-40.

Eject mechanismFigure 9: Eject mechanism

Finally, you must clean the read/write heads of the drive with a Q-tip wet with isopropyl alcohol. See Figure 10. If the drive is a 400 KB model, there will be only one head; otherwise, there will be two heads, one for each side of the disk. IMPORTANT: Don’t lift the upper head with your fingers, because this will make the mechanism lose pressure, damaging the drive.

Floppy Disk Drive HeadsFigure 10: The heads that must be cleaned

Now you need to put the computer back together.

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.