I ran into an interesting question on CNet today. The question was regarding the speed of decay of a CD/DVD. I found the answer(s) to be very educational.
The format of that particular part of the website is one in which a person can ask a question, and users of the site provide answers. Then the question maker chooses the “best” answer.
The chosen answer was very educational. He pointed out that burned CDs and Pressed CDs are very different. A pressed CD uses a dye that is sensitive to a laser’s light to create dark spots on the CD. A pressed CD, on the other hand, is made from an aluminum layer inside the disk that has holes poked into it. This fundamental difference can lead to a much longer life for factory CDs. The dye in a CD-R can fade or run over time, which can distort the data on the disk.
The jury is still out on how long you can expect CDs to last. However, there were some fairly good ways you can keep your data much safer on your CD-R or DVD -R/+R.
- Burning your disks slower. DiscRead.com suggests that burning a disc at a slower rate could prevent possible errors that could happen. CNet also said that this can help your laser make a better burn mark in the dye of the disk.
- Use a good brand. Linux Kid over at LX forums is right in suggesting that you don’t use Memorex. Probably half of the Memorex DVDs that I have used, turned out to have errors. Verbatim is probably the most respected brand of media, but find one that works and stick with it. You will have much higher success with something that has worked in the past.
- Use good equipment. It may be tempting to use that old DVD burner that you got from your brother’s best friend’s uncle, but just because it was free does not mean it will for sure do the job. I love free stuff and use free stuff all the time, but make sure that you are using good equipment. BurnWorld.net suggests that you download the DVD burner and Blank Media Compatibility Chart to ensure that your burner and media are the kind that will give you consistent successful burns.
- Verify your disc. Jon from eCoustics.com suggests that if your data is important, you verify it. Remember that your burner is working very quickly to get the job done. It may very well miss a spot on the disc when it is burning.
- Be a careful labeler. At FreeInfoz.com, it is suggested that you use caution with your labeling. This is good advice, as using ink or adhesives on a cheap DVD can cause time-released damage to your data. It will seep through, permanently damaging the data on the other side.
- Do not fill the disk. DVDs will generally fail from the outside in. The outside will be more likely to have problems and therefore should not be considered reliable. If you can stick to about 4 Gb of data per disc, you will save yourself some headaches down the road.