How to Manage your CD's, DVD’s and Blu-rays to Prevent Damage and Data Loss?

Everyone has their pile of favorite, important and forgettable CD’s, DVD’s and Blu-rays accumulated over the years. These optical storage technologies offer the promise of cheap and relatively reliable long-term storage of data but are also vulnerable to data loss and physical damage. The damage can be breakage or scratches on the disc surface or dust particles that interfere with data reading and retrieval. Then there is also the challenge of keeping these discs away from moisture and solvents that could damage the surface.


Although flash drives are increasingly replacing these technologies, CD’s, DVD’s and Blu-rays still come in handy to store installation files and stash-and-forget data. Your management strategy has to account for the fact that CD’s are the weakest link and the most prone to data loss while Blu-rays are the most robust with DVD’s in the middle.


Here are some tips to manage your stash and prevent them from giving you the dreaded error message when you try to open them


Store in A Cool, Dry Place Away from Moisture


Moisture is bad for discs because it interferes with the grooves on discs that make it possible for the laser to convert their data into picture and sound. Do not handle your discs with clammy hands, wipe them dry with a soft fabric after use and store them in a cool and dry room or dedicated shelf.


Handle Carefully


The surface of the CD is especially vulnerable to scratching as it’s not built to be as scratch resistant as the Blu-ray player. Trim your nails or hold the disc by the edges. Do not use an organic solvent to clean the discs. Do not store multiple discs in the same disc cover as this increases the possibility of scratches from the discs rubbing against each other.


Replace Old CD, DVD, Blu-ray Drives


If you’re wondering why your shiny new DVD suddenly has scratches all over causing your favorite movie to pause relentlessly, it might have to do with the DVD drive. Old ones tend to scratch discs and its best to buy a new one to prevent any data loss due to scratches.


Keep Away from Heat and Cold


If you’ve stashed your DVD’s in a shelf near your microwave or fridge because there’s no other space in your cramped apartment, it’s time to end this practice. Discs are sensitive to heat and cold and can lose data if the extremes interfere with the dye on the surface of the CD or the DVD responsible for storing data


Periodically Use Discs


Discs and drives need to be used once in a while, so you have the chance to clean them and spot any creeping problems. It’s also essential to make multiple copies of all your data if possible including on thumb drives and in the cloud to prevent abrupt, irreversible data loss. The reason being that even the best management measures are sometimes inadequate to stall aging of the dye on the disc that’s responsible for data storage. 


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