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
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
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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