If your office is like mine, you have stashes of floppy disks hanging around from the days when they were the way to transport electronic documents. These days, we tend to just toss them in the trash when we find them, since most PCs don’t even have floppy drives.
Before you trash those disks, though, you need to make sure they have no proprietary information on them. Even if the disks are old, they may still contain sensitive information. If you are in the medical, mental health, or legal fields, or really any field that maintains confidential client files, it is doubly important to make sure any computer media is completely cleaned before trashing them.
Just deleting files isn’t enough to clean the disks. Those files can still be possibly be recovered by someone up to no good. The best thing to do with these disks is to reformat them prior to junking them. Don’t worry, it’s an easy process. Just pop the floppy disk into the drive (if you don’t have one in the office, a USB floppy is fairly cheap to obtain, and worth the peace of mind), right click on the drive in Windows Explorer, and choose Format. Make sure the “Quick Format” box is unchecked. You want a complete reformat of these disks. Click start and let it run.
This is a good job for a summer intern. Takes some time and teaches them something about office security. As a matter of fact, I have a huge pile of floppies sitting on my desk waiting for one of our interns to spend some time on them before we trash most of the lot. Oh, we’ll keep a few around for the couple of people who still like to use a floppy on occasion, but the rest of them will be tossed to reclaim some room in the office supply cabinet.
BTW, you can reformat CDs and DVDs with the same method. It’s a good idea to do this before tossing them back in the office supply cabinet for re-use.