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How to repair a scratched DVD or CD

DVD & # 39; s are the cornerstone of every respectable film collection, but no matter how amazing they are, they are not exactly indestructible. We've all experienced it. You borrow a buddy a copy of your favorite DVD and he comes back as if he used it to work with a skateboard. When it comes to discs, scratches can be fatal for their life, but depending on where the scratch is located, they can be repaired. Of course you can still buy a copy, but it will cost you precious Amazon dollars or an uncomfortable excursion to Best Buy, and who wants to do that?

Fortunately, there are a few methods available when it comes to repairing a scratched DVD or CD that you should try before you take out the irresponsible man you once called a friend.

What You Need to Know Before You Begin

It is important to note that the methods described below do not work blu-raying. Those discs use a harder coating that is harder to scratch and damage, which is good, but the disadvantage is that once it scratches, it usually becomes unusable and needs to be replaced. Minor damage can be corrected with a microfiber cloth, but the data density and layers prevent all options described here from working particularly well or are even advisable for a Blu-ray. Error correction functions on the best Blu-ray players can of course help them to ignore scratches.

Five tips before you begin

Although we cover different methods for cleaning and resurfacing your disks, it is important to remember a few important rules if you want to save yourself a headache during the process.

  • Wash and dry your hands before touching your discs. It is surprisingly easy to mess with the delicate data printed on the polycarbonate layer of a disc, and it is known that both grease and oil cause playback problems, even if the disc shows no signs of physical damage. Better yet, put on latex gloves if you happen to keep them around.
  • The best way to clean your discs is to start in the middle and work out in a straight line. This ensures a better grip during cleaning and prevents you from damaging the data on the polycarbonate layer below. The reason for this is that the data runs in a spiral around the disc, such as on a vinyl record. Because the disc rotates so fast, the reader must be able to compensate for missing pieces of data as it goes, and when a scratch runs directly from the center of the disc to the edge, it is a lot easier for the algorithm to correct the error and resolve it automatically.
  • Discs with drawer loading are likely to read a damaged or scratched disc than loading discs with slot. If it is possible, it is a good idea to use one of these discs when trying to save a disc to reduce the number of variables in play. Given that the data layer encoded on the polycarbonate surface is so close to the top layer of the disc, scratches and dents on the label can cause reading errors in the same way that a thing in the reflective surface can. Make sure you store all your disks in crates or on spools and grab them by the inner ring to prevent damage to the data.
  • There are all sorts of ways to damage a disc, but it is important to determine how deep a scratch is or what caused the disc to fail before continuing. The first trick is to confirm that the problem actually lies with the disk. This is usually done by trying to play the disc on another device with a disc drive or by placing another disc in the original drive that caused you problems.

Methods for repairing your disc

Sir. Clean Magic Eraser

  How to repair a scratched DVD or CD Mr Clean Magic Eraser

Mr. Clean's budget path may focus on household cleaning, but it is also surprisingly useful when it comes to restoring the correct finish of optical discs. Although you usually wet the magic eraser, a dry eraser can rub lightly over the reflective surface of the disc – again, always in straight lines from the center of the disc – smooth out some scratches on the reflective surface without affecting the data below. The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is made of melamine foam, the same type that is used for sound and heat insulation, and it benefits from the unique properties of the material instead of chemicals to clean surfaces.

The idea is that the foam acts as an abrasive, such as sandpaper, and can smooth the outer layer of a disc and result in a smooth surface for reading. Think of it as pumice stone against the rough skin of your heel; rub it and you get a part of the dead skin off, but if you rub too hard, remove the important pieces underneath. Make sure you don't rub the disc too forcefully, otherwise you risk the underlying data layer.

Expensive machines

  how to repair a scratched DVD or CD skip doctor

Unless you want to spend $ 500 or more on a professional resurfacing machine, it's best to completely avoid this option. While these advanced devices are great for people who need to clean and repair hundreds of discs per month, they are priceless to purchase and often require maintenance costs that quickly exceed the cost of easily replacing some scratched DVDs. The cheaper versions, which you see in the free racks for $ 10 or $ 20, tend to do more harm than good, often repairable discs scratch irreparably or simply immerse them in chemicals that only further damage their exterior. However, it is common to find these machines in rental stores selling used discs and they often let you use theirs for a nominal fee.

Oil-based products

  Scratched Disc PB

This is where things start to get messy. If you have reached this point in our guide, it probably means that no other method has worked. If you can get a computer to read a copy of the disc, you can burn a replacement copy to a new disc so you don't have to worry about scratching the old disc. If the scratches on the data side of the disc are too large, this may have permanently damaged the outer reflective layer. In this case you may be able to get another use of the disk by replacing the material with something similar to re-read the working part of the disk.

You can currently use different materials, some effective, and some born of rumors and common misconceptions. Chapstick, toothpaste, peanut butter, shoe polish, window cleaner, petroleum jelly, banana peel, and some other materials should work to repair a scratched disk, but they all have one common feature: oil. The oils in these fabrics help to fill in some scratches that remain, even after they have been wiped clean. These oils provide a path for the laser to travel directly to the data and back.


  for example, how to repair a scratched DVD or CD desk lamp

Again, if you really care about your disc and want to keep it, you've probably already brought it to a professional at this point. However, if you still want to view your scratched disk, you can try heating it slightly. Polycarbonate has a very low melting point and becomes very malleable with just a little heat. A desk lamp works great and you can simply hold the disk through the ring in the middle up to the lamp. You don't have to bend or flatten it either – we just hope that a little bit of heat will correct any small scratches in the printed data and make the disc easier to read.

If it fails …

The sad fact is that although each of the above methods has a chance to work, it is just as likely that they will not. In general, you are out of luck if you have damaged a disc enough to not play. Unless you need a number of coasters and don't mind the scratched silver look, your discs can be sent to the trash.

If, after reading this manual, you still want to expand your movie collection, consult our guide to the best Blu-Ray movies, or go digital with the best movies on Netflix. And think about this: the Netflix option is permanently scratch-resistant.

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