Memories are important, and when you have them stored on your computer it’s always a good idea to have a backup. One of the simplest and most convenient methods is to copy your files onto a CD, DVD or Blu-ray disc. This gives you a copy of your precious files, which, under ideal conditions, can last a lifetime. It’s important to keep the backup "under ideal conditions" as, even with the best intentions, discs can become damaged, scratched or broken. Even just playing the disc in your computer on a regular basis can damage it over time, so it’s best to make at least two copies - one to store safely, and the other to use.

The Knowhow

how to care for your CDs and DVDs

With reasonable care your optical media can last 30-40 years. The tips below are a few simple precautions that will help increase the lifetime of your discs and the data stored on it.

  1. Store your CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray Discs in a suitable container. If the discs came with a "jewel case" type CD box this is perfect, otherwise use a container designed to store optical media discs.
  2. Do not mark the side of the disc with the data on it, in any way. This includes writing with any form of pen or applying stickers.
  3. Do not use solvent-based pens on the label side of the disc. Only use pens designed for writing on discs. Strong solvents can go through the disc and damage the data layer.
  4. Hold the CD, DVD or Blu-ray disc by its outside edge or the central hole. Any fingerprints on the surface of the disc can prevent your computer or player from reading it.
  5. Keep the disc out of direct sunlight.
  6. Prevent exposure to extreme temperatures and humidity, or rapid changes in them.
  7. Do not place heavy objects directly onto your CD, DVD or Blu-ray discs.
  8. If you need to clean your discs use a clean, dry, lint free cloth and:
    • Wipe from the central hole outwards
    • Do not wipe in a circular direction
    • Do not use any cleaning solutions on the disc. If you have a stubborn mark, try lightly dampening part of your cloth with some lukewarm water and then drying it off with the clean part

Updated On:

Jun 14, 2012

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