How to Determine If Your CD Collection Suffers from Disc Rot Damage
June 20, 2019
Alarmed by the damages they’ve discovered, archivists and collectors fear for the future of optical disc formats. Promoted as a more durable format than cassettes or vinyl, compact discs arrived on the music scene in the 1980s. Although new technology now exists, many people still covet their CD collections. Read on to discover more about the dreaded demon known as disc rot damage.
What Is Disc Rot Damage?
Disc rot is an all-encompassing term that describes deterioration of CDs and DVDs. It’s caused by a chemical reaction as a result of poor manufacturing and/or materials. In order to understand it, you need to know the anatomy of a CD and its layers. The label, protective lacquer, a reflective layer that contains the data, and a thick clear plastic layer come together to create a CD. Often made of aluminum, the reflective layer is where disc rot damage begins, when the protective layer fails to shield the data.
Signs and Symptoms
At first, this damaging disc disease appears as slight discoloration or tiny pin-prick sized dots that let light shine through. Discoloration deepens or the dots eventually spread until the damaged disc is corrupt. CD-Rs are more likely to experience disc rot damage than read-only formats, due to the organic dye used in the production process.
What Can You Do to Deter Disc Rot Damage?
Unfortunately, if you own CDs that are susceptible to disc rot damage, there’s not much you can do to prevent it. But it’s possible to slow down the process and prevent other forms of damage using the right care and storage techniques. Follow these tips for proper preservation.
- Handle CDs with care. Hold by the edges or the center hole, and avoid touching the surface.
- Practice proper storage. Always keep CDs anchored in their protective jewel cases and replace if broken. Don’t stack the discs, instead, store them vertically.
- Keep your collection away from extreme temperatures, moisture, dirt, dust, and pests. A cool, dry storage space works best. Never store in the basement, garage, or attic.
- Avoid using hard-tipped pens when writing on the CD. Even felt tips can cause damage from the chemicals in the ink. Use a special disc pen if you must, and keep the writing to the inner circle where no data exists.
Even if you take proper care of your CDs, there’s no telling how long they will last. The risk of disc rot damage increases with the age of your collection. Newer discs may be made from better materials. Be sure to back up important data or duplicate discs to preserve your collection. For expert duplication services with high quality results, call Disc Hounds today at 610-696-8668.