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Your old CD-ROMs are probably rotting

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First post, by Davros

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http://boingboing.net/2017/03/11/bitrot.html

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Reply 2 of 61, by Jade Falcon

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Yes they are, never had a old LD? They rot. But then again I have disks from 1983 that are good. Then I had disks from the 90s that are bad. The problem is the glue between the layers it goes bad. But you can reflow it by heating the disk wile spinning it. Disk rot is a major problem with double sided disks

Last edited by Jade Falcon on 2017-03-12, 01:01. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 3 of 61, by konc

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Of course they are. Simple users, not IT people, have already started experiencing unreadable CDs from the late 90s-early 00s. People who believed burning their marriage photos on a CD will preserve them to eternity. This is a subject about to explode soon. Writable CDs turned out to have surprizing lifespan, depending of course on the media itself and the writer.

Reply 4 of 61, by DosFreak

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They probably are but my floppy, CD and DVD games were imaged a long time ago so they can rot. Don't lump me in with the other idiots internet article.

Working on my Blu-Ray and DVD collection now. This will take awhile.

One thing that's happened since this study is an acceleration in the plunging costs of online storage -- HDDs and SSDs -- and cloud services, which are all "live" media, regulated by microcontrollers that continuously poll their storage media for degradation, marking off sectors as bad when they turn and copying their data to still-good sectors before it becomes unreadable

l0lwut. This is an article talking about preservation of data:
Assumption about continuous "polling" of storage media.
Assumption that data is recovered automatically from "bad" sector is readable and data isn't corrupted.
If you're relying on just hardware RAID to protect your data then you obviously don't care that much about it.

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Reply 5 of 61, by Jade Falcon

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Rule of thumb, CD-Rs are good for 5 years, 7 max. if you care about your data. But some disks last 30 years. I had LDs from the early 80s that are fine and have no rot. But pressed Disks have to be pretty old and or poorly stored to die.

Last edited by Jade Falcon on 2017-03-12, 01:54. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 6 of 61, by leileilol

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I have a 18-year-old (store brand!) CD-R that still reads fine too. I used to think it was rotting because of one of my previous DVD drives couldn't read certain files, but this doesn't seem to be the case anymore wiht my current drive and I have no issues at all

Every time I see a "CAUTION CDS ARE ROTTING" story it's sometimes a wakeup call for warez, and often the ISOS you'll find from "preservationists" are modified warez scene releases with cracks that ruin the (well emulateable) protection schemes and audio tracks. Hypocrisy abound. all in the meanwhile I can't find certain 20-year-old shareware games no other so-called pc gamer seems to remember

Last edited by leileilol on 2017-03-12, 01:47. Edited 5 times in total.

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Reply 7 of 61, by luckybob

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I keep a tape backup in a safety deposit box at my bank. It has things that are not replaceable, such as digital family photos, copies of deeds/titles/etc. I change out the tape once a year.

I'm going to have to upgrade to the 1.6GB tape soon. 😜 But only if I can get a cheap drive.

It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.

Reply 8 of 61, by Jade Falcon

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leileilol wrote:

I have a 18-year-old (store brand!) CD-R that still reads fine too. I used to think it was rotting because of one of my previous DVD drives couldn't read certain files, but this doesn't seem to be the case anymore wiht my current drive and I have no issues at all

It's very well could be rot. Newer drives tend to do a lot better reading disks with rot. Laserdiscs players are a grate way to visualize rot as your can see it in the video. Not only that but older drives use a wider wavelength laser so you can see the difference with older optic technology vs newer. But any disk can last a long time, like I said I have 30 some year old laserdiscs that are fine.

Reply 9 of 61, by Errius

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My own experience is that most CD-Rs burned in the early 2000s have problems but DVD-Rs from that period are OK. It may have been my fault for burning too fast though, I just don't remember.

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Reply 10 of 61, by Tetrium

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DosFreak wrote:

They probably are but my floppy, CD and DVD games were imaged a long time ago so they can rot.

May I ask how you proceeded with this? And I presume these images can still be used to install and play these games?
I've tried a couple times in the past, but results were various at best 😵

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Reply 12 of 61, by Jade Falcon

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Jorpho wrote:
Jade Falcon wrote:

But you can reflow it by heating the disk wile spinning it.

Have you tried this yourself..?

Yes. I have a old gas tube laserdisc player that keeps the disk spinning and laser running when I pause a movie. The disk gets really hot after a few hours and it cleans up the rot abit, sands crazy but it works. It time consuming as you may need to position the laser in different areas and on both sides. But that will only fix disk rot cases by glue degrading between layers of plastic. So mostly only double sided disks.

Reply 13 of 61, by yawetaG

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I wonder in how many of these cases people get fooled into thinking a disc is bad when it's their optical drive that actually is the problem. I have various DVDs from the early age of DVDs that many modern drives simply can't read properly, yet they work entirely fine on a drive from the early 00's. Some of those DVDs are bootleg region-free Hong Kong DVDs that I suspect weren't quite burned in the proper format...chuck those in my "reads and rips any copy-protected CD with no problems" 2003 Philips drive and they read fine, any modern drive spits them out. I would rather blame shitty QC on some modern drives before believing in bit rot.

Reply 14 of 61, by gulikoza

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Errius wrote:

My own experience is that most CD-Rs burned in the early 2000s have problems but DVD-Rs from that period are OK. It may have been my fault for burning too fast though, I just don't remember.

DVD-Rs have data stored between 2 plastic discs. CD-R only has 1 plastic disc, the data is stored on top (protected by a thin layer of coating - that's why you don't write with a pen on top of a CD-R). BD-R again has data on the bottom AFAIK.

So, with DVD-R the data is better protected between the two layers, but then the glue can fail or damage the organic data dye. Some later cheap CD-Rs basically have the top coating starting to peel off after time, with all the data attached to it...

That's the theory at least, but in practice it might be related that the media is getting cheaper all the time. I have some 95/96 CD-Rs still being perfectly readable, but the later cheaper variants failed in the early 00's already. But the DVD-Rs where on the rise at that time, so the media was still expensive (and thus better quality). As time progresses, the prices fall and quality as well. This can be seen with BD-R (and LTH media) as well for example...

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Reply 15 of 61, by Tetrium

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gulikoza wrote:

I have some 95/96 CD-Rs still being perfectly readable, but the later cheaper variants failed in the early 00's already.

Could this be related to the burning speed as well? I always tended to burn my media on (much) slower settings than the max burn speed that I could do.

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Reply 17 of 61, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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Tetrium wrote:
gulikoza wrote:

I have some 95/96 CD-Rs still being perfectly readable, but the later cheaper variants failed in the early 00's already.

Could this be related to the burning speed as well? I always tended to burn my media on (much) slower settings than the max burn speed that I could do.

About reading speed, I noticed that slow writing speed translates to more reliable disc, while fast writing speed tends to cause the disc unreadable (or hard to read) on certain drive. I haven't noticed the relationship with age, though, but it seems my 2005-made backup CD's are fine. And indeed, I burned them with the lowest writing speed possible.

Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
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Reply 18 of 61, by Beegle

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The first generation of backup and data CDs I burned myself from 1996-2000 is 90% dead.
Discolorations on the suface is a problem. Top-layer detaching from the disc itself is another.

DVDs are rotting too, but at a slower pace and I had more time to prepare and copy everything on other media.

As Kreshna said, the same story over here said that burning at slower speeds created more reliable data because it created "deeper" writing. Never knew if that was true or not.

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Reply 19 of 61, by Errius

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When I first got a CD burner I just burned as fast as the media supported. The disks passed verification so hey no problem. Only years later did I find out that you should never burn at the media's advertised max speed. Not important disks anyway.

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