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Proper CD and DVD Storage

The year is 2012 and you take your kids to the old computer, the one with the CD, CDR, and DVD drive, you had stored in the attic. You planned to show them some great childhood pictures you've stored on the old CD format. You pull open your shoebox with all those CDs and DVD's that you recorded to six years ago and find out half of them won't work. What happened? The media manufacturer said the discs would last for 100 years so why are they not working.

Improper storage is probably the culprit. Storing your CDs for the longest time possible is a matter of proper handling and care. Here are some of the most obvious CD handling and storage tips:

  • Always hold your CDs by the outer edge or by the center hole. Hold the whole disc between your fingers and thumb on the very outside edge. The oil and acid from your fingers will not only put a print on the media but could corrode the disc over a long period of time. This is not proven, but why would you take a chance.
  • If you must write on a CD or CDR, use a non-solvent permanent felt-tip marker and write in the inner hub. Avoid writing on the surface of a disc.
  • Store discs upright in jewel cases, Paper CD Sleeves, or Tyvek CD Sleeves. Avoid plastic sleeves for long term storage. People have reported the labels or even the metal surface of a CD may be pulled off the disc after they’ve been stored for five or six years. I prefer Tyvek sleeves or slim line cases for long term storage.
  • Store CDR media in a cool place.
  • Make back up copies of the back up copies.