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  1. #1
    Bronze Lounger
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    Cleaning a CD-ROM disk

    One of the CD-ROMs we use regularly stopped working a coupla days ago. (It's a piece of learning software.) It would play briefly, then start skipping. My colleague examined the disk and found some crud on the underside. He then tried cleaning the disk with a pre-moistened pad designed for cleaning eyeglasses and safety goggles and shields. He was reluctant to scrub very hard, fearing he might damage the disk. His efforts failed to fix the problem, so we declared the program dead.

    When I heard the story, I decided to try cleaning the disk myself. I used another pre-moistened sheet, but I rubbed the disk pretty aggressively. Result: The software now works flawlessly.

    This incident prompts me to ask this question: Just how far can one go to clean oil, grease, fingerprints and other "crud" from a CD-ROM before you start damaging the disk? Many people treat these things with kid gloves. Certainly cracking the disk will kill it, but aren't these things pretty tough?

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Cleaning a CD-ROM disk

    Pre-pressed CDs last longer, no doubt about it. Burned discs can go corrupt and don't have a long shelf life. If the disc isn't cracked, you can go pretty far in cleaning them up.

    I tripped over the DiskDoctor series of devices in a mall in Arizona. Of course they released an electronic version of it after I plunked down my cash, but even with a little elbow grease it can't be beat. It buffs the readable surface of the disc and can get out most implayable sections unless there's a gouge in the disc.
    -Mark

  3. #3
    Bronze Lounger
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    Re: Cleaning a CD-ROM disk

    Ah, the DiskDoctor! Yes, I've seen those! I hear they work really well. Thanks for the information.

    You mention that burned disks don't have a long shelf life. Hm-m-m--if I were to get a CD burner to make "archival" digital copies of important photos and documents, how long can I expect those records to last? What factors affect shelf life for burned CDs? Are they more or less reliable or long-lived than floppies?

    And what about a hard drive? If I put data on a hard drive and then remove and store that drive in a shoebox for 10 years, what might I find after that much time in storage? Let's assume that I shield that drive from magnetic forces--electric motors and such.

  4. #4
    3 Star Lounger
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    Re: Cleaning a CD-ROM disk

    It was not long ago I ran across an article about the shelf life of disks. CD-R 10 years, CD-RW 5-7 years, floppies 1-3 years. Nothing was mentioned about hard drives but I figure due to their more sealed nature, so long as the access method (IDE ATA100 or Ultra SCSI 2) is around when you need to access the information it should last longer.
    I am not stating the above disk will or will not last that long just the article. We have backup floppies from 3/95 (actually even farther back but that is the disk I just grabbed) The files are there and are intact.

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