CDs, and their younger brother DVDs, are fickle creations. They look fairly tough, and they’re extremely hard to break or warp, but for all that toughness the data they contain is surprisingly fragile. It doesn’t take much to hopelessly corrupt a CD, and when that happens no amount of coddling will bring the thing back. Its physical strength means nothing. It’s gone.
In order to understand the importance of caring for your CD it’s good to know how a CD works. When information is encoded on a CD it is expressed on the surface by a series of tiny pits. These pits contain all of the data, and if a CD is scratched or otherwise damaged these pits can be wiped out entirely. This may not be enough to stop the CD, but it can corrupt the data and prevent lasers from properly reading the long spirals of pits that encircle the CD’s layer. And it doesn’t take much to scratch a CD.
So you want to protect your CD now that all that is said and done? Good. Given the price of a music CD, for example, it’s important to ensure yours stay safe. Here are some tips for properly storing your CDs or DVDs. treat both with the same amount of respect and your data will last that much longer.
– First, every disc that’s encoded with data should have its own case, whether that case is a crystal clear CD case or a DVD box. You might even want to segregate the disc from other encoded discs just to avoid rubbing. Whenever the disc isn’t in use, make sure to store it in its case.
– You can also resort to disc flip book containers. These little units will allow you to store dozens of discs safely in plastic sheaths, and afford the capacity to quickly look through them when you desire a particular disc. (Avoid the temptation to store two or more discs in a single sheath. The book will quickly become overloaded.)
– You should also keep your discs in a central location. Don’t let them float freely around your house. Keep your movie discs in one location, your music discs in another, your data discs in yet another. Avoid mixing different types together. Get storage spaces, like CD racks, to maintain a tidy collection.
– Keep your discs in an area that’s neither too hot or too cold, too hot especially. Discs can’t stand up to environmental extremes, just like most everything else electronic.
– Keep your discs well away from food and drink. Don’t handle discs when your hands are coated in BBQ sauce, for example.
– Last, somewhat unrelated to the topic but still important for storage, check your discs for scratches regularly. If you see them cropping up often then you might have to look into a new disc reader, regardless of the format.
Proper disc maintenance is a matter of being overly protective of your property, which should come as little to no surprise. Use common sense: what would protect a disc the best? The case in which it came in the first place? Probably so. Keep your discs securely on their spindles when they’re not being used and your data will stick around that much longer.