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   Disk Conditioning 
To preserve your data, you need to take good care of  
your disks. That means the following dos and don'ts:  

Never leave your disks lying under the keyboard. Also, never leave disks in the drive, as the data can leak out and corrode the inner mechanics of the drive. Roll 'em up and store them in your pencil holder. You can also use a fridge magnet to keep them together.  

Spray disks periodically with insecticide. This keeps system bugs from spreading.  

Keep them fresh-put them into the deep-freeze or in the vegetable compartment of your refrigerator. Before putting them in the deep-freeze, sterilise them by immersing in boiling water. To thaw frozen disks, microwave them.  

Polish disks regularly, to keep them bright and shiny. You can use black shoe polish.  

Don't let your disks dehydrate. Spritz them regularly with mineral water-Evian for snob value, Bisleri for wallet appeal, or the real springs, up in the mountains.  

Make sure you label your disks, so that they don't get mixed up with others' disks. Staple labels to your disks, so that they won't fall off.  

You may also scratch identification markings on your disks, with a nail file.  

Never insert a diskette into the drive upside down. The data can fall off the surface of the disk and jam the intricate mechanics of the drive.  

Make your disks multi-task and earn their keep. Use them as coasters. They add a touch of novelty to the dinner table. At other times, children love to play frisbee with them.  

If you need a copy of your disk, just give it to the photocopy fellow. This is the preferred method when you receive a disk and need to make several copies, fast. Of course, if you're creating/editing a document, and you know you need two copies, simply insert TWO diskettes into your drive. When you save, the data will be written onto both disks.  

If disks don't fit in the drive, trim them with a sharp blade until they do.  

Sometimes, your disk will get full and give you an error message when you try to write more data to it. In such a case, remove the disk from the drive and shake vigorously for a few minutes. This will pack the data enough (data compression) to allow for more storage. Before you do this, be sure to cover all openings to prevent loss of data. Use cello tape.  

Are you finding data retrievals too slow? Data access time is dramatically improved by cutting more holes in the disk jacket. This provides more simultaneous access points to the disk.  

Disks should be kept clean. Give them a bath once a week. Otherwise, they have a tendency to catch dandruff which no shampoo can remove.  

Hair is for people, not disks. Don't think, put your trusty Philishave to work.  

Do you feel the surface of the disk is not as smooth as it should be? Wax it. This will allow the disk to spin faster, resulting in better access time. Conditioning is as necessary for disks, as it is for your hair, skin or body. Any good hand & body lotion will do.  

Disks should not be removed or inserted from the drive while the red light is on or flashing. Doing so could result in smeared or possibly unreadable text.  

If you haven't accessed your drive for a while, your disks will have become sluggish due to the lack of activity. Wake and shake them up by playing some rousing music. Hold the speakers next to the drive, for maximum impact.  

To recover data from a damaged disk, bathe it with antiseptic and bandage. Change the dressing every day.  

The hard outer jackets of stiffies are actually child-proof containers to prevent tampering by unknowledgeable youngsters.  

You need to remove the disks from these containers prior to use. Occasionally, the red light on the disk drive keeps flashing. This is known as a "hung" or "hooked" state. If your system is hooking, you will probably need to insert a few coins to continue working.  

Sunlight and warmth are good. If yours is an air-conditioned office, take your disks out into the sun occasionally, to warm them up. This will help them build up the vitamins and minerals necessary to hold your data.

Copyrights Computers Today 1999