Happy Friday and happy Valentine's Day! Before I dive into this week's topic, I want to clarify for the folks who are reading this discussion that we are discussing the shelf life of recordable (burned) CDs and DVDs that we all make at home using our burners. Not to be mistaken for commercially manufactured music or software CDs, or movie DVDs that you buy off the store shelves. Because of course, there is a big difference between the two. I won't go into the specifics, but commercially manufactured CDs/DVDs stamp their data on the disk and also have a special clear protective layer on both sides to ensure their longevity. However, data on the ones we use at home is burned onto the disk and there is no protective layer, so the data is exposed. This can be subjected to the elements. I just wanted to make sure we are clear on that. So let's get going.
First rule of thumb: nothing lasts forever. I don't care how well the recordable CD/DVD media is made, what color or material it is made from, one day it will eventually fail. Second rule: if you highly value your important data, you shouldn't rely solely on your burned CD/DVD media to be your backup. You should have multiple backups in addition to your media, like a backup hard drive or flash drive.
As you read through our members' answers to Michael's question, you'll realize how many people have lost data from old burned CDs/DVDs. And if you ask me if burned CDs/DVDs have a shelf life I will tell you, heck yes (see my first rule). While recordable CDs/DVDs are a reliable way to store data, the debatable part is how long they will last; some say five years, some say 10 years. Some say it all depends on the quality of the recordable media. But one thing that we probably can all agree on is that all media do have a shelf life and the elements (sun, dust, moisture, etc.) that it is subjected to play a big role in its longevity. I'll let you read our members' answers. While a lot of info shared may be redundant, there is also a numerous amount of insights on the different types of media there are, best practices on how people store their CD/DVDs, and much more--just an overall wealth of knowledge provide by our members, so thank you for sharing. If you have additional tips or advice on the topic, swing on by the discussion and leave your mark. Have a splendid weekend!
I've been backing up my important files on recordable CDs and
DVDs for a quite a few years now. However, the other day my
friend told me that he read some article explaining that
burned CDs and DVDs, while a reliable backup method, do have
a shelf life and one day they will fail to read and that I
should make duplicate backup copies of my files on another
media or external hard drive just in case. This is new news
to me, but paranoia still set in! I went immediately to check
on a few of my backed up CDs from many years ago dated 1998
and 1999 and was relieved to find that they read perfectly
fine from my PC. Now I'm questioning if what my friend read
was a myth and I'm turning to you for answers. Is it true,
will burned CDs and DVDs eventually become unreadable? If
there is a shelf life, what is their expected life span? Are
there better quality CDs or DVDs recordable discs that are
better for longtime storage? What is the best way to store
burned disc to prolong shelf life, if there is such a thing?
Am I being paranoid for no reason? Have you had any old
burned CDs or DVDs fail on you because they were too old?
Sorry for all the questions. Thanks for any facts you can
-- Submitted by:
Featured member solutions for last week's question:
I purchased a PC about 1 year ago from a guy off of Craigslist, and he did not tell me that the Windows XP version he loaded on the computer was not legal. Currently I cannot receive plug-ins, updates, and many other things do not work properly now.
Is there any recourse on this, as I would like make my system legitimate? What are my options? Can I buy a legal version of XP and have it installed, or purchase Vista and install it? What's involved if I install a legit version of Windows, are particular process? I have 2GB of RAM on this machine. Also, if I buy the XP software to install, does it have to be the same as the existing version on the computer? The version I have is XP Pro and I have no disk. Thanks!
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