CD-Rs useless after 1 year? GULP!

in Genius Bar edited January 2014
I've noticed a few comments about how CD-Rs can become unreliable after a year or so, and I've also heard concerns over the lifespan of DVD-R media.

This is news to me. We archive all of our work to CD-R & DVD-R. We make two copies of each disc, but that's neither here nor there if both discs age at the same rate.

How worried should I be?


  • Reply 1 of 2
    regreg Posts: 832member
    I tried opening some 6 and 7 year old disks. All the Excel and Word files opened. About 1/4 of the disk could not be opened because it could not find right app to launch. So much for not labeling those CD's.

  • Reply 2 of 2
    CD-R's are usually expected to last about 10 years. But there are a lot of variables:

    It seems that the glue used to stick on some adhesive labels slowly seeps down into the data layer and the chemical reaction destroys any data.

    A similar thing can happen with some (few) CD pens. Mostly these are off the market now.

    Environmental conditions can really shorten that time. An extreme example would be leaving the CD on a dashboard during a hot sunny day. And some airborne chemicals can also have effects (a concern in some industrial settings).

    Now if you are really into data storage then you are probably using Megneto-Optical (MO) drives. They are slow, expensive, and have much less storage space, but they last near forever if you store them right. The standard practice is to have 2 geographically separate locations, each with a copy, and each with a small pile of the drives needed to read the data (these things are notoriously proprietary), and at least one computer capable of using the drives.
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