CD-Rs unreadable after two years

Warne, Dan
November 2003
Australian Personal Computer;Nov2003, Vol. 23 Issue 11, p18
If you thought that CD-ROM, a compact disc on which computer data can be accessed (CD-R) were the safest way to archive precious family photos, think again. New test results have revealed that CD-R discs can become unreadable in under two years, with some manufacturers using cheaper materials to cut costs. The discs were tested with a CD Associates CDA3000, a high-end analyzer used in the CD manufacturing industry. Cheap generic CD-R often have porous lacquer layers on the top that allow salt to penetrate through to the silver reflective layer, causing oxidization. CD-R were once made with a true gold metal layer, which doesn't oxidize, manufacturers can no longer afford to use it due to consumer pressure for cheap discs. CD-R discs use an organic dye layer in front of a reflective layer to simulate the pits found in a pressed CD. Heat from CD writer lasers can break down chemicals, causing a slight change in reflective quality. In many cases users won't notice that a disc is failing or damaged, due to the CD format's extensive error correction data.


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