If your precious CD is scratched and doesn't play on the cd-player, here are five ways you can read it, at least once, so you can make a copy.
CDs (Compact Disc) sometimes decide not to work again. And unfortunately this happens on your personal CDs, such as your wedding, your child's christening, your school trip, etc. Or it could be your favorite music album CD, or an old backup. Whatever it is, your data is valuable.
Do you really want to read this mulled up CD again? You can! Here are five ways to fix a scratched CD or DVD, make it play on any device, and what to do next.
Of course, we are not discussing whether your CD or DVD is broken or missing. In this case nothing is done. The usual damage to these discs is to be engraved or dirty. So, in most cases, the problem on a disk is its external surface. The actual disk data is stored on a material that is positioned between two layers of polycarbonate. This transparent plastic disk, that is, its surface, is prone to scratches.
Starting care for your drives is clearly a good idea. Every time you finish your work with him you should take some time to make sure that both the disc and the inside of the case are clean. A hair can scratch your disk and shut it down. You should also be careful about removing or inserting a disc into the DVD drive. This is another common case where optical discs can be scratched or damaged. Even worse, if the cd-player gets stuck and you start screwing it, instead of pressing the special switch with a pin.
So if you have a disc that does not play or is defective in playback, you usually owe it to the outer layer scratches and you can fix it. There are several repair methods. None of them require special materials or skills, and they can all be made with household items. Let's look at 5 ways you can (temporarily) repair a CD, DVD or even Blu-ray disc.
1. Just clean it
Many times, the discs that we believe are engraved and not playing, are simply dirty.
Surface stains work just like scratches. They refract the laser beam and do not direct it to the correct spot on the disc, so it cannot read the encoded data on the metal layer.
Visually check your disc for dirt, but even if you can't see any, clean the surface of your disc with a soft lint-free cloth, like the ones you clean your glasses on. You can use a mild detergent (or even better alcohol) if there are traces of fat. Make sure there are no fingerprints or dust particles. Do not rub too hard as this may cause more damage. Your movements are spiral (circular in disk shape), with the tendency to start from the center and end outside of it.
Avoid the usual cleaning of the irrelevant…. rub the disc hard on your pants !!!. Luckily, your disk will work once it is properly cleaned.
If the CD player does not play any disc, or if it plays selectively whenever it descends, then gently clean the laser glass itself. Especially to old machines the dust does a lot of damage.
2. Repair scratches on damaged CDs with toothpaste
You sound incredible, but it works. Using a toothpaste or a detergent for glasses (especially those used by optics) or even Brasso (silverware), you can repair a damaged disc.
But how does a toothpaste clean scratches on your CDs? The principle is simple: the toothpaste fills the gap caused by the scratch on the outer surface. The laser then focuses correctly to read the disc data accurately. Follow these steps:
- Clean the disc as described above.
- Place a small amount of toothpaste on a plate. With a wooden toothpick or similar, place a small portion of the toothpaste along the scratch (not as much as the photo above shows).
- Rub gently with a suitable cloth, from the center of the scratch outwards.
After a few minutes you will see the scratch become smooth. It may even disappear. Try playing the disc. If it works, make a copy immediately.
3. Can a lamp repair a scratched DVD?
Another technique is to use an incandescent lamp, about 60W.
Insert your pointer into the disc hole, flip the glossy side up, and hold the laser reading side over an incandescent lamp about 10 cm away. Rotate the disc for a maximum of 20 seconds and remove it. Note that excessive heat exposure can damage the disc.
Play the disc while it is still warm, and if it works, copy the data to your computer immediately.
If you haven't done anything the first way, it might be worth trying the lamp too.
4. Repair a carved tray with wax
Incredible, but scratches on the surface of a CD or DVD can be fixed with a soft wax!
As with toothpaste, you can use colorless shoe wax, lubricant for lips, or furniture wax or even petroleum jelly. Again, rub it on the surface of the tray to fill the scratch. With a lint-free cloth, wipe off the excess wax in radial motion.
When you're done, try playing the disc. If it works, copy the data to your computer.
5. Cover the holes in the tray with adhesive tape
Most problems on a disc are confined to the plastic layer. In some cases, holes in the aluminum layer may occur. As this is the place where the data is stored, such a hole can prove to be destructive. If the laser finds a hole, it will simply stop reading.
The answer is to cover the holes, thus encouraging the laser to continue reading. Hold up the side of the laser reading tray and find the holes. Then, flip it over and smear the gaps with a marker. Finish by placing two small strips of tape on each hole you find.
This way, the disk will play, allowing you to recover most of your data. Of course, any data stored where the holes exist will be lost forever.
What to do next with your scratched CD
So what have we learned? You do not have to scratch scratched CDs or DVDs. Instead of using them as a blanket or hanging them for pigeons, use one of the above methods to overcome scratches and retrieve data.
These solutions are temporary. Do not rest on your laurels that you have achieved. Instead, copy the data immediately to another drive, hard drive, or any preferred storage solution.
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