400+ 5.25" Floppy Disks, What to do with them?

I’m cleaning my mother’s house after 28 years of her living there, and I’m amazed by the number of things that I’ve found that I have no clue what to do with. Old furniture, dishes in that lovely shade of olive green from the early 70’s, and my latest find, more than 400 5.25" floppy disks.

Most of these floppies contain IBM programs, but some are for the TRS-80 computer. These I’m hanging onto, as there is/was a functioning TRS-80 in the house as well.

These disks date from 1985-1993, and contain programs my Dad downloaded from the various BBS’s that he frequented. Some contain early proto-viruses, because he was beginning to build an anti-virus program before he died.

I’ve got no idea what’s on many of the other disks, and while I have a 5.25" floppy drive that works, I’m not sure that spending my time trying to see if these disks are good is a productive use of time.

So, I’m looking for either: A) useful projects for a bunch of floppies, or B) interesting ways to dispose of them.

Any ideas?


As far as option #2, I’m reminded of an idea my friend had for our first-year textbooks. Maybe make some art out of them?

Mail them, one a day, to the top brass at AOL.

I like this one!!!


I also thought about posting them to Dr. Yoshiro Nakamatsu , but thought that might be a little too esoteric.


I only had a couple of hundred, but:

First I copied all the disks to my hard drive, and wrote the stuff back out to CDs. Still don’t know if I want any of it, but I have it. That is what’s important, right? In a few years I’ll probably transfer them to DVDs, again without bothering to actually look at what’s there…

Second, I used the floppies as dog toys. They don’t sail as well as frisbees, but this is a plus when playing with a smaller, older, and rather obese dog. After a session of catch the floppy would be bent and dented and often punctured in multiple places. No matter – I had enough that they lasted almost six month, often multiple sessions a day.

Whatever you do, don’t copy that floppy.

I use mine as coasters, but I like this idea better…


Floppy disks have to be copied onto new floppy disks every ten years or so. If these floppy disks were recorded back in the TRS-80 days, the chances of them actually containing anything useful at this point are fairly slim.

There are a lot of folks out there who collect and use “classic” computers. Do a little poking around. I’m sure you’ll find someone who would love to have a few hundred floppies.

Curious, what effect would this have?

I presume it’s as a reply to the millions of AOL ‘get interweb now!’ CD’s mailed to unsuspecting households.

I’ve got a fair collection of old computers (including a couple TRS-80s, a model 3 and a model 4), and most of them use 5.25" disks. No disk is younger than 20 years old and of the hundred or so I have, only one has ever failed. Based on my experience, I’d say the chance they contain useful information (like Frogger) is very, very good.

Cassette tapes, on the other hand, I think they’re designed to go bad in a week.

Thanks for the laugh. homeskillet, you will fit right in around here.

Like NASA. No kiddin’, they buy lots of old gear off eBay, since it’s often easier (not to mention cheaper) to simply swap out old gear that’s died with old gear that’s still working, than to kludge together a solution using new gear.

Wallpaper your bathroom with them.

Yeah, I got really annoyed when they switched to mini CDs. When they sent out floppies, I’d have my dad give me all the AOL floppies so I wouldn’t have to buy my own (in response, he just shook my head, handed me the disk and said “Don’t install anything.”).

I think that AOL should either send out CD-RWs with their software, or just a cheap USB drive (I bet lots of folks could get some use out of a 16MB USB stick) to retain that old functionality :smiley:

Now, my suggestion, is to use the floppies like shuriken, ala the IT Ninjas from the old Angst Technology webcomic. :stuck_out_tongue:

Call your local museum and see if they’d be interested in having it. In the museum in which I work, it’s really hard to get people to donate modern items because they think we only want things that are 50+ years old. Not true-- we collect for future generations as well.

Since most of that computer equipment will probably end up in a landfill, old computers might be somewhat of a rarity in museum collections in the future. (I know we don’t have any-- people are just now starting to donate typewriters.)

Likewise, the green furniture. Anything that “screams” a certain decade is usually something a museum would want, especially if it’s in good condition. If you have any family photos of the people who owned it using the item, donate them (or copies) along with the item.

This page has an interesting craft suggestion – cut them open and use them as CD sleeves.

Ohh, no!

The wife said that they were not allowed to be used as wall art.

Shucks (hangs head, scuffs feet)