Rotting discs: how to save personal photos and videos from destruction

Rotting discs: how to save personal photos and videos from destruction

Degradation of optical discs threatens to destroy all information from a CD or DVD due to aging

Evgeny Opanasenko

Rotting discs: how to save personal photos and videos from destruction

Techno section editor

If you still store information on optical disks, now is the time to take care of copying the information from them to a more reliable SSD or HDD as soon as possible. Experts warn that old CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs are at risk, How-To Geek reports.

“Rotting discs”, or scientifically “optical disc degradation”, is the tendency of CDs, DVDs or other optical drives to become unreadable due to mechanical or chemical damage, or over time. Causes include, but are not limited to, physical abrasion, UV damage and reactions to contaminants, as well as delamination of the adhesive layers of the disc and subsequent oxidation of the reflective elements over time.

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There are many factors to consider when evaluating the longevity of burned discs, including the quality of their workmanship, how the data is written to the disc, and how it is processed and stored. According to one Canadian government study, the lowest quality discs can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years, and up to 100 years if stored carefully and made with high quality.

As How-To Geek points out, at this point in time, disks, if you still have them in your home, could be 15 to 25 years old. If they contain data that hasn't been saved elsewhere, now is definitely a good time to tackle the problem.

Rotting discs: how to save personal photos and videos from destruction

By 2020, your DVDs or CDs are 15-25 years old – many may no longer be readable

Therefore, if you store all your family or personal photos, videos, documents and other data on CD or DVD, be aware that they are a “time bomb”. Over time, they can simply irrevocably stop being read by the optical drive. Of course, there are some ways to polish and restore, but they do not guarantee 100% readability.

The easiest way to back up your old valuable data is to simply copy the contents of your CD or DVD to your hard drive and your computer's solid state drive or flash drive, or better yet, online storage. This can be done fairly easily using a computer with a functional optical drive and attached storage device. Optionally, you can choose to create an ISO image that copies the entire file structure of the disc.

If you are faced with the fact that the disc turned out to be unreadable, do not give up hope. Try to access the data from another drive or another computer – the problem may be in the drive itself. Or you can use a program to recover corrupted data from optical drives, such as IsoBuster.

Rotting discs: how to save personal photos and videos from destruction

One way to save information from DVD to computer on macOS

Recall that earlier we have compiled a useful guide on how to transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone. We also showed TOP-5 useful laptop tricks.

It's worth noting that Samsung discontinued Blu-ray players last year, ending the era of optical storage.

All the details in a special topic Useful tips: how to set up a computer and smartphone

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