Computer Disk Recovery Project
|Hundreds of millions of promotional computer disks and CDs are distributed through the mail, in magazines, and by other methods. Most of these are generated by online sevice providers. The National Waste Prevention Coalition is working with online service providers, the U.S. Postal Service and others to reduce the waste from this advertising method, and to ensure that more of these disks are reused and recycled.
As part of this effort, the NWPC has put together the following information explaining how people can reformat these disks themselves:
Reuse those "junk mail" computer disks
|If you own a computer -- and are on computer-related mailing lists -- you probably receive at least a half-dozen promotional computer diskettes in the mail each year. These diskettes (also known as "3.5-inch floppy disks") may arrive as a direct mail promotion, in a coupon packet or with a magazine. If you aren't interested in the "Free Software!" or "Ten Free Hours of On-Line Service!," what should you do with these diskettes? Just throw them away?
Why not reuse them instead? Many creative uses have been suggested, such as beverage coasters or bathroom tiles. One woman even made a dress out of them. But what some people don't realize is that most of these disks can easily be reformatted and relabeled for your own use. That way they don't end up in a landfill, and you can save money, since you won't have to buy as many new diskettes. Here is how you can reformat diskettes:
Step One for all operating systems:
Turn the diskette over and look at the back side. There are usually square holes in the two upper corners. The hole on the left normally has a black slider. If the slider is up (in locked position), move it down to cover the hole. This will unlock the diskette and allow you to format the diskette. If the diskette does not have a slider, you may still reformat the diskette by neatly placing a piece of tape over the hole. Caution: If the tape is not applied correctly, the diskette may jam in the disk drive. If the diskette does not have a hole in the upper right corner, the diskette is a low density diskette so make the noted changes to the following instructions to format that diskette.
For Windows 95:
Insert disk. Open "My Computer." Click once on "3 1/2 Floppy (A:)." Click on "File." Click on "Format." Choose "Quick (erase)." Click on "Start." Sometimes a diskette cannot be formatted using the "quick" option. In this case the system will ask you if you want to do a normal format. If you have a low density diskette, select 720k as the capacity.
For Windows 3.1:
Insert disk. Open "Main." Open "File Manager." Click on "Disk." Click on "Format Disk." Choose "Quick Format." Click on "OK." Sometimes a diskette cannot be formatted using the "quick" option. In this case the system will ask you if you want to do a normal format. If you have a low density diskette, select the 720k capacity.
Insert disk. From "Special Menu," select "Erase Disk." Select format "Macintosh." Click on "Erase." When trying to format an IBM-formatted disk, and depending on the system version that you are running, the system may say, "Disk unreadable, Eject or Initialize." Choose the "Initialize" option.
Insert disk. At the C: prompt, type "FORMAT A: /q /f:1.44". If you have a low density disk, type "/f:720". Be sure to use the correct drive letter for your disk drive if it is not the A drive.
When reformatting is complete, put on a new blank label over the old label. When reformatting these diskettes, don't worry about computer viruses. Diskettes sent from reputable companies should be virus free, and formatting will wipe the disk clean.
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