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View Full Version : PCWORLD: Do Burned CDs Have a Short Life Span? (2 - 5 years?)

01-12-2006, 02:39 AM
"Unlike pressed original CDs, burned CDs have a relatively short life span of between two to five years, depending on the quality of the CD," Gerecke says. "There are a few things you can do to extend the life of a burned CD, like keeping the disc in a cool, dark space, but not a whole lot more."

The problem is material degradation. Optical discs commonly used for burning, such as CD-R and CD-RW (http://msn.pcworld.com/resource/browse/0,cat,1108,sortIdx,1,00.asp), have a recording surface consisting of a layer of dye that can be modified by heat to store data. The degradation process can result in the data "shifting" on the surface and thus becoming unreadable to the laser beam."



01-12-2006, 02:51 AM
Good to know, thanks

01-12-2006, 03:03 AM
A few months ago, I was just getting data off a CD I burned in 1994. It worked fine, and I got all the images and texture maps off it. That was 12 years, no problem.


Revelation 23
01-12-2006, 03:14 AM
I usually stick with brand names - Maxell, Verbatim, TDK. Just like with blank cassette tapes, cheaper media usually doesn't hold as well (in my experience anyway), though my Khypermedia discs seem to work as well as any other blank discs I've used.

Some may get a longer lifespan out of a CD-R or CD-RW than a 2 to 5 year life, but it's not a bad idea to backup your burned discs, because they can (and probably will) become unusuable at some point, unlike a pressed CD, which should work fine as long as you handle it carefully and store it properly.

I'm not sure how well blank DVD's will hold up over time, much less double layered ones. But I don't see why they'd really bu much different as far as lifespan and long-term readability is concerned.

01-12-2006, 10:54 PM
I have cds from KODAK with more than 12 years (about 50 of them) , none of them had problems ! I think they said it's design for 99 years .
and also I have many cds(low price ones) which is not working after 1 year .

01-12-2006, 11:04 PM
actually, I was trying to install an operating system on a computer a month or so ago, and I thought it was a scratch that was prohibiting me from installing, but it easily could have been that. I've had that cd for 3-4 years. In response to getting some files off cds, degradation could happen anywhere on the cd so it might not be in the small space the files occupy, if it was the entire cd full, and you got them all and it was from 1994, thats pretty interesting.

01-12-2006, 11:09 PM
This article is a good reminder. I've heard about this a few years ago, though not through MSN (or PC World).

01-12-2006, 11:15 PM
like anything, the degradation cannot be figured out exactly, for whatever reasons some CD's last, others do not, even from the same brand, even the same batch. I've had both happen, also another thing that can happen on cheap CD's is the mirror surface (the part you right the title on) can flask off, also destroying a disc.

01-12-2006, 11:32 PM
I've never had trouble with really old CDs.

01-13-2006, 12:47 PM
i have a few discs where you can literally see the data surface coming apart. the affected cd's are around five - seven years old, have the green colored surface and were all made by fuji. seems, here it only happens to the green discs so far. of course i also have older cd's from different brands, but these are unaffected, yet stored in the same place.
needless to say i'm staying far far away these days from fuji storage products ;)

01-13-2006, 01:13 PM
A few months ago, I was just getting data off a CD I burned in 1994. It worked fine, and I got all the images and texture maps off it. That was 12 years, no problem.

-jeremyJeremy, that was because "way back then" the CD's were made from rock and stone. It's only theese new fangled CDs which are using cheap plastic which have a problem.


They sure don't make them the same as they used to in the good old days. :)

01-13-2006, 02:11 PM
I've had CDRs where the label has scratched off the TOP of the CDR affecting the data below.

On the flip side, I've had CDRs in my car for years. (In the hot baking sun.) That still play.

01-13-2006, 03:41 PM
ermm... whats a CD? Is that like a DVD?

just kidding. :D

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