The Editors and Readers of COMPUTE!
Chill Factor For Disks And Tapes
I have often read that diskettes must not be exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees. Does this mean that people who live in cold climates must not order disks or programs by mail in the winter? Will the disk be ruined or must it be given time to warm up again? Do cassettes suffer the same limitations?
Severely cold weather should not limit your mail order purchases of diskettes (blank or preprogrammed). The storage medium will keep some of the cold away from the disk. However, the safest procedure is to climatize the disk for at least 24 hours before inserting it in the drive. Extreme cold and heat cause contraction and expansion of the plastic disk, which alter the disk track locations.
Also, extreme humidity can damage a disk. A safe guideline (suggested by 3M, for disk operation) is a temperature range of 50 to 125° Fahrenheit and 8 to 80% humidity. Cassette tapes are less sensitive than disks to temperature and humidity extremes, but climatizing them, too, is a good idea.