How best to look after your precious CDs and DVDs

Hopefully most of us are living in the 21st Century, even if we have been dragged into it kicking and screaming. And whilst it’s not a crime to own vinyl disks (it’s actually still pretty cool for those of you who are wondering), we do seem to take little care of one of the wonders of the past century and the next.

Vinyl (before my time!) can easily ware out due to the friction of the needle on the record. Next, tapes, 8-track or cassette proved to be problematic by the tape head rubbing and grinding dirt and dust onto your favourite tracks. The CD arrived, which took a lot of these issues away because there is no mechanical contact with the disc.

CD reflection of Windows Vista Photo GalleryMore recently, the truly digital age began with the arrive of the DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) which allowed data, music and video to all be in the same kind of media, with bags of storage.

CDs and DVDs, not just the bought media kind, but the precious kind to, filled to the brim with music, only copies of weddings, parties, childhood memories, and the better things in life.

But now we have two kinds of new digital media working their way into the home, Blu-Ray and -DVD (: High Definition) with even more storage and uses. Before anyone asks me this , ‘What format do you think will win?’, my answer is HD-DVD. But that is not what we are talking about now.

Most damage to these discs can easily be prevented. CDs, DVDs, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD have a protective coating, but there are still three common ways that these discs can get damaged easily:-

  1. Obvious to us all, scratches destroys the discs data
  2. Greasy finger prints, making the disc unreadable to the laser
  3. Too much heat and pressure can warp the discs out of shape.

Try and follow this guide to keep your data safe:-

  1. When holding the disk, handle it by the edges or placing your finger through the centre hole
  2. Store your discs in plastic jewel cases or paper sleeves (jewel cases are the better of the two).
  3. Don’t slide discs across surfaces
  4. Keep your media out of direct sunlight, or keeping them in hot environments as the discs will warp
  5. Don’t expose your discs to pressure (the physical kind), so avoid keeping them under heavy objects. Storing them horizontally or vertically is not a problem
  6. If your discs do look dirty or grubby, dive them a wipe down with a cloth, such as a dusting cloth or silk cloth, providing it is non-abrasive
  7. Never, ever, label your disks with a pen, pencil or Biro. Use sticky labels and write on them, then place the label on the disc, not the other way around
  8. Don’t use your discs as coasters or Frisbees with the dog.

In the event of crisis, and a disc is in a bad way, rip what data you can off it, and try using a cleaning it or disc repair fluid. But do note that these are not guaranteed to save your data!

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