Skip to Main Content

MIT Libraries logo

MIT logo Search Account

Digital Media Transfer Kits: 3.5" Floppy Disks

This guide explains the various devices available for use in Distinctive Collections to transfer digital files from obsolete or hard-to-access media such as floppy disks, zip disks, memory cards, and hard drives in a user's personal collection.


Floppydisk 90mm(3.5inch)

Your 3.5" floppy disk like the one pictured above can be accessed through the USB external drive. This will work for the majority of disks created from the 1990s - present. However, some earlier disks from the 1980s and disks formatted on a non-Windows machine may not function correctly.

Using the Drive

  1. Remove the drive from its box and plug it into your computer's USB drive.
  2. Flip the small tab on the bottom of the disk so that it is open, this means it is write-protected (so you can't make any unintentional changes).
  3. Insert the disk with the label side up and the shutter in the front until you hear a click.


  4. Once the disk is inserted, the drive may pop up as a removable drive (the A: drive if in Windows file explorer). You may also have to click on "This PC" in your file explorer on Windows in order to see it.

3.5 inch floppy disk drive in Windows file explorer

  1. Click on what has popped up and see if you can view your files.

Contents of 3.5 floppy disk in Windows files explorer

  1. If so, you can copy and paste them onto your computer (e.g. to a Documents folder). If comfortable, you may consider using a tool like TeraCopy or RSync, in order to ensure nothing changes in the transfer process.
  2. Once you have transferred your files, you can eject the disk by pressing the button on the front (see video above).
  3. Right click on the device in the system tray and eject it.
  4. You can now remove the USB cord from your computer and return the drive and cord to its box.

Note: These devices are solely for use with personal material and not any of the collections stewarded by the Department of Distinctive Collections.

Warning: The Department Distinctive Collections is not responsible for any data loss or damage to items that may occur in the transfer process. Proceed at your own risk.