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How to Protect Your CD Collection

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How to Protect Your CD Collection :: How to Protect Your CD Collection

How to Protect Your CD Collection

When CDs first started to become popular, one of their touted advantages was that they would “last forever”. Claims that they had a lifespan of at least 100 years were common. Fast forward to the 21st century, and we are wiser on the actual durability of CDs. The fact is, they are quite fragile, and can easily be scratched or broken, causing them to be unreadable. In order to get the longest life possible out of your CDs or DVDs, here are a few tips for handling and storage.

Scratches are the worst enemy to CDs, so keeping them stored in a protective case is the best thing you can do to extending their life. Lots of people stack unprotected CDs or leave them lying on table tops – this is a bad idea. Scratches on either side of the disk can destroy data – the label side is where data is stored. Scratches on the bottom of the CD can affect the way the laser reads the disk.

After using a CD or DVD, put it back in its protective case. Surprisingly, the best case is not the plastic jewel case that most CDs are sold in. Jewel cases easily crack and break and the disk itself needs to be flexed to remove it. In addition, disks can rotate and rub against the plastic while they are in the jewel case.

Special CD cases that contain pockets for the CDs are the best storage solution. These are very popular and you have a wide choice, but not all are created equal. The pocket material itself should be a soft, non-woven material so that the CD is not scratched when put in or taken out of the pocket. The front of the pocket should be made from the same soft non-woven material as the inside. By all means avoid pockets made from PVC. PVC can stick to the disks and damage them when they are removed from the pocket.

CDs can also be damaged by adhesive labels. It’s best to use a soft-tip marker to write on the face of the CD. Don’t use ballpoint pens or anything that can scratch the surface.

Avoid touching the surface of the CD. Always handle them by the edges and center hole. Fingerprints on a CD or DVD can actually cause the plastic to break down because of the oils found in our skin. Any fingerprints should be cleaned off with a soft, non-abrasive cloth, wiping the CD from the center to the edge.

Considering the sizeable investment that most CD collections represent, it’s worth while handling them with care and keeping them protected. By following these simple guidelines, your CDs may indeed last 100 years.

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