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3.5" floppy disks were first introduced in the early 1980s and were widely used from the late 1980s through the early 2000s.  Note that early Apple computers used a 'variable speed' drive to write data to 400K and 800K 3.5" floppies.  These disks cannot be read in our standard USB floppy drive and must be read using the Macintosh Power 6500 in the BDPL. 


  • These are among the most fragile of the removable media.
  • Avoid ANY magnetic fields. 
  • Excessive light exposure may damage plastic jackets.
  • Avoid excessive humidity. Not only can humidity ruin a floppy disk, but mold can as well.  If mold is detected on a floppy disk, we will need to contact the collecting unit to determine appropriate steps to clean the disks.
  • These are easily damaged by dust or fingerprints. Never open or remove the protective "door" or shutter on a 3.5" floppy.


The BDPL has a Sabrent USB 3.5" floppy disk drive that will handle most floppies.  For Mac-formatted 400K or 800K floppies, you will need to use the BDPL's Macintosh Power 6500 (procedures TBD).

NOTE: collecting unit staff have sometimes placed barcode labels on top of the disk shutter so that it cannot slide over and enter the drive properly.  If you encounter a disk like this, it may be necessary to cut back or remove part of the barcode label.

Write Protection

Slide the write-protect tab "up" (away from the disk's slide cover) so that you can see through the hole. The below illustration shows the difference between a disk that is 'write enabled' and 'write protected':

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