January 27, 2006
Dear CNET members,
Happy Friday! This week's question submitted by Carl on the longevity of burned CDs (not to be confused with commercially stamped CDs such as music or software) was a great one. Believe it or not, it got me to go through a few important CD-Rs that were six or seven years old--luckily, they were all intact and readable. It also served as a good reminder to me that no matter how great the technology, nothing lasts forever. So I backed up those CDs on newer media and will continue to check on them occasionally to make sure they don't deteriorate over time. If you're like me, wondering how long these CDs last, check out this answer by Barry (two-time winner) who gives a great explanation of the technology behind CD-R media, reference links for us to explore, and best practices for storing this stuff. We also have helpful additional explanations in our honorable mentions section. While some of the information may be redundant, it's always cool to hear from our members. As always, if you have more facts or findings that apply to the longevity of burned CDs or best practices for storing important data on other media types, please join this discussion and post that info for all to read. Have a great weekend and thanks for your participation!
Member Question of the Week
I recently read an article by a data storage expert who
claimed that burned CD-Rs and CD-RWs can be expected to last
only two to five years and not a whole lot more. I personally
have commercially pressed CDs from the 1980s that still play
fine, but I have begun to notice that some of my burned CD-Rs
are beginning to skip, not start (player shows "no disc"),
or have a strange echo that was not on the original. This
sounds serious! The expert suggests that for secure long-term
storage, high-quality magnetic tape is the way to go. Are any
of your readers beginning to notice this problem with their
burned CDs, and are there other opinions about how to combat
it? Are some burnable CDs of higher quality than others? What
are the best storage methods for the discs that will make them
Carl N. of Cottonwood, Arizona
Factory-pressed CDs are totally different from recordable CDs. In a pressed CD, the data is literally "molded into" (actually pressed into) the media and will not disappear unless the CD is physically damaged. Recordable CDs use a dye that changes color or reflectivity when heated. There are different dye types commonly used in recordable CDs--phthalocyanine, azo, and cyanine, in particular--and they do not all have the same life expectancy and stability...
Barry W. of North Canton, Ohio
efforts, we're sending him his choice of any
Help.com Learning CD.
Each week we take a look at topics discussed in the forums.
SETI@home: Is it safe or spyware?
Best regards and enjoy!
Having been around well over a decade, many people have set up SETI@home on their computers to help out with a scientific experiment that uses Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. But member skycatcher has some concerns and questions this type of participation--is it for a good cause or can it be used maliciously? Find out what others are saying; if you have something to add, chime on in.
More from the Viruses and security alerts forum
Storing blank MiniDV media in
the fridge--fact or tale?
My dad use to store film and batteries in the fridge, stating they would last longer and hold their charge, but I never understood why. Today member bklynrickel asks us if storing blank MiniDV media in the fridge will help its longevity. Is this practice just an old wives' tale, or will this in fact be helpful in keeping this type fresh? Please offer your insights here.
More from the Camcorders forum
Which antispyware program is better?
Always a popular question! Check out what is being recommended. If you have your own personal preference, let us know about them.
More from the Viruses and security alerts forum
Repairing an external hard drive
Member Kurashiki recently experienced a drive failure on his external drive. He wants to know a few things before he gets a new one: Is possible to try and fix this myself? Is there any way to retrieve this data? What is the best way to dispose of an external HDD so that none of the data can be recovered? See what others have recommended already and bring your recommendation to the table.
More from the Storage forum
New to Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity)
If you've been kicking around the idea of setting up a wireless network in your home or office, or you're just curious what this Wi-Fi mumbo jumbo is all about, I highly recommend visiting our Networking and Wireless forum to start asking your questions. Here are just a few discussions to get you started on your Wi-Fi adventure.
Lost in Wireless Land
I'm trying to learn how to set up wireless
Novice to wireless--please help!
Graphic and Web design: Mac or PC?
Member wolrabnodrogl does a lot of Web/graphic design, is in the market for a new laptop, and wants to make the best decision possible in choosing the right platform. He's concerned with numerous questions in regards to what he is going to use this machine for and lays it out all on the table for us. Can you give him some sound advice as to what's best for him?
More from the Mac OS forum
Check out next week's question:
I'm currently getting ready to either buy or build a new home computer. However, in anticipation of Windows' new operating system, Vista, to be released later this year--what is the best hardware to have inside the case that will prepare me for this? I'm wondering about not only the CPU, but motherboard, graphics board, fans, cases, power supply, single or dual hard drives (RAID), monitors, and so on. Or would it be wise to wait until the release of this new OS before getting this
George L. of Sarasota, FL
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March 31, 2005
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