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Another CD Eaten by Mold? (In Fact, More)

December 3, 2009

Long time ago, I showed how I saved this damaged CD by using Exact Audio Copy (EAC). I thought about ripping all my CD collection and saving them in my hard drive, but I only converted few of them.

Recently I got serious about this so I started from the beginning (most of them are ordered by composer). Since I haven’t listened to them for a while, many discs are covered with mold. I had to clean them (with water) before ripping it. Some discs have more mold than the others.

Here is one that I just cleaned. The case was broken through one of my movings (across the ocean).

Close look at the disc:

Fortunately this CD only has less than 44 min, so that the two holes and the transparent parts on the edge do not affect the playing. Actually these transparent parts are already there before I cleaned it with water. Therefore, I really don’t know how this happened. (Hmm.. see the news article in the end)

I bought this CD in early 90s so it has been at least 14 years. But just 14 years! The booklet is still all right, so it looks like the paper does much better job in preserving data.

So, CD is not safe, nor is DVD (or Blu-ray discs). Hard drives and memory cards are afraid of hard impact and humidity, and can die any time without warning you. Or, they won’t work because no available device can read them.

This life cycle of media might be shorter and shorter with newer technology or development coming out. Is it too much to ask for a lifetime, say 50 years?

Related Article:

“When the CD is made, protective lacquer is dropped onto each disc, which is spun to spread the lacquer to its outer edges,” said Mr Varley.

“If this is not done properly, the lacquer may not cover the disc, enabling air to penetrate and oxidise the aluminium. Over time, this rusting effect can ruin the CD.”

Record companies Warner Music, EMI, BMG, Sony and Universal declined to comment on the deterioration of compact discs. (…)

But Philips, which co-developed the compact disc with Sony, said CD deterioration was an isolated problem.

Is that so?

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