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Thread: "See Through" CD-Rs

  1. #1
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    Default "See Through" CD-Rs

    While looking through my CD-R/DVD-R archives, I spotted a CD-R from 2014 with the top (painted) layer flaking off, resulting in a "see through" CD-R. Said disc was written in 2014.

    Is the disc salvageable/? Any hints on what to do next?

  2. #2
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    I've got a few like this. The parts with the dye/substrate/whatever still intact all the way round still read. But too high speed in the drive and it all comes off.

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    If the dye layer is still there, your data is still there but reading it may be impossible unless you can figure out a way to reapply a new reflective layer on top (without damaging the dye). I have no idea if the stuff they use to silver mirrors will work on CD-R discs but it sounds like an interesting project to find out.

    If the dye layer peeled off along with the reflective layer your data is on those flakes. Probably (mostly) recoverable using some kind of scanning microscope and image reassembly software like they have in the movies. I suggest freezing the flakes until a future time when the technology exists to rescue them.

    On a more serious note, discs are generally recorded from the center out. If the flaking is only at the outer edges you can probably still retrieve your data.

  4. #4

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    I'd be tempted to see if it would still read. And then I'd be tempted to spray silver paint on it (Krylon sticks to plastic) and see if it would read after that. However, if it's important stuff I'd sit back and have a think about a more sensible approach.
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    Nope, flaking was in mid-CD, complete with reflective layer. FWIW, this was a Memorex "Cool Colors" CD-R. Fortunately, I had a backup of the data and burned it to a new no-name CD, which generally seems to last better.

    I've got some silver paint, but it isn't nearly as reflective as the real thing. So, trashcan--nothing really lost.

    Oddly, I've still found tapes to be my best bet. I recently had to retrieve some of my own data written to DDS in 1995. Written with Trantor Tape Mate, nonetheless. Both tapes read perfectly. I also recovered a couple of tapes from 1997 written on NT 4.0 using NTBackup. That was a bit more complicated as XP NTBackup didn't recognize them, so I had to reinstall a copy of NT4 on a spare machine.

    My gripe of course is with Microsoft--if you don't change the name of the backup program, it's reasonable to expect a certain amount of backward compatibility. After all, these are archival backups we're talking about. If you have a archiving tool that doesn't recognize older archives, what good is it?
    Last edited by Chuck(G); October 9th, 2018 at 03:32 PM.

  6. #6
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    I've actually had good luck with CD-Rs over the years, but I stick to the better brands (mainly memorex and verbatim). The only CD-R that I had that fell apart like that was some cheap no-name brand that someone gave me. The cheap no-name/store brand ones are always just a disaster waiting to happen.

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    Ages ago when I burned CDR like crazy I always used a paper label that covered the whole CD and I have never seen one of those come off. The better quality one I used also had a gold colored base and was pretty thick quality paper.

    Anyway the die layer is so small that if the reflective layer is gone I would be 100% sure the data layer went with it.

    Also there are grooves the laser follows and does the recording in, not sure if that is in the die layer, reflective layer, or poly layer (or all 3 depending who made them). If that is gone you are SOL.
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