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Effective Optical Disc Repair?

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the persistent-doubt dept.

Data Storage 554

CyberKnet writes "I have an extensive music collection on original CD media. While most of it is in impeccable condition, I have a few discs that have suffered extensive scratching through listening to the disc either via a portable disc player, or in a car CD stacker. I've long since learned the error of my old ways and don't listen to discs in those devices any more, but those discs are irreplaceable in many cases. I would very much like to be able to repair them or have them repaired to original condition, or at least well enough that I can pull the tracks off once and archive the track data. I have heard really uncomplimentary things about devices like the Skip Doctor; ranging from it not helping to it making things worse. I've heard great things about JFJ devices that are seen on the counters of most Hollywood and BlockBuster video stores, but even their consumer devices start at $250. I would appreciate any other suggestions for devices that people have had personal experience with that won't break the bank."

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cdparanoia (4, Insightful)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480505)

Clean the disk well and rip it with cdparanoia.

If legal in your location, replace bad tracks with copies from elsewhere.

Burn to new CD.

Re:cdparanoia (4, Informative)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480575)

Try ripping it with both cdparanoia and with Exact Audio Copy [] (Windows freeware that works well under Wine). Stuff that won't rip in one will often rip in the other.

Re:cdparanoia (1)

wiggles (30088) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480955)

Isn't EAC based on cdparanoia? If so, that would be a bit redundant...

Re:cdparanoia (5, Funny)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480631)

Burn to new CD.

No need! This [] is the absolute GREATEST optical disk repair device that I've found! It'll even repair cracked disks!

Re:cdparanoia (2, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481019)

It will reduce your disc problems to nothing in a matter of seconds.

Re:cdparanoia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24480835)

Anonymous Coward? Maybe I'm too lazy to log in. Anyhoo, I've been going out and getting some NuFinish from the Auto Parts store, and just grabbing a micro fiber rag. I get better results polishing the disk myself than I do with a Disk Dr. or other knowhow. I've brought an old Splinter Cell game back to life just by spending an hour or so polishing it.

Toothepaste (2, Interesting)

Shaitan Apistos (1104613) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480517)

I've heard that rubbing toothpaste on the shiny side and rinsing with water can be effective.

Re:Toothepaste (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480573)

I've once repaired a Tombraider II CD-ROM this way: rubbing with toothpaste, which rough structure somewhat events the scratches. The scratches were effectively removed - you can see the surface is rough, but to the optical reader it's fine after this treatment. So it's worth a try. Tombraider II worked again after it!

Re:Toothepaste (4, Informative)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481183)

Yes, the abrasive in toothpaste can help to polish out the scratches, but really (especially as these are valuable/irreplaceable discs) you should just get it done professionally.

I can't vouch for any particular company, but Googling "disc resurfacing service [] " turns up plenty of fairly economical options. There's no point spending a few hundred on a professional resurfacing machine, nor is there in risking doing it yourself with toothpaste or metal polish and a microfibre cloth, when you can pay a couple of dollars a disc and have them done by someone who knows what they're doing in a machine that probably cost a thousand or more.

Toothpaste (5, Interesting)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480521)

Get toothpaste. NOT GEL, but regular white paste. Get a small cloth, put a dab on it, then rub it from the center to the outside in straight lines going outwards around the whole disk. When you're done, clean it off and pat it dry. Disk will look like hell, but it'll work.

I have rescued lord knows how many CDs with this technique, including console ones that were completely screwed, and even resurrected a dead DVD-RW just this past weekend using this technique.

Re:Toothpaste (2, Informative)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480591)

Polishing anything requires a lot of skill to get it right.
Its just as easy to screw up your cd than to make it better.

Learn how to carefully polish things before you start and practice on things you don't need.

Toothpaste will not remove scratches that you can feel, but it may clean out the grooves of the scratch enough for them to be read.

If in doubt, speak to one of your friends who buffs and polishes their car every weekend - they will likely have the tools, polishes and most importantly knowledge available to cure your problem.

Re:Toothpaste (1)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480651)

If in doubt, speak to one of your friends who buffs and polishes their car every weekend - they will likely have the tools, polishes and most importantly knowledge available to cure your problem.

I'd be afraid that anything motorized would produce too much frictional heat and cause more damage.

Re:Toothpaste (2, Informative)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480773)

agreed. In fact...that is sort of the POINT of a buffer. You heat up the paint, then move it across the scratch that you're trying to get rid of.

Re:Toothpaste (5, Funny)

Inda (580031) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480859)

1. Take a power drill, make sure the hammer action is off.
2. Place the CD on the chuck, tighten the chuck around a bolt and washer to keep it in place.
3. Clamp the drill in a bench vice.
4. Spin the CD at 30,000rpm
5. Hold an oily rag against the CD and polish away.

Disclaimer: I typed this message with two fingers.

Re:Toothpaste (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480913)

Bad idea for a nonobvious reason: NEVER polish CDs with a circular motion. ALWAYS use a radial motion.

Re:Toothpaste (0, Flamebait)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481215)

This is FUD.
The idea behind this is that you don't want to damage any other data near (along the spiral) the unreadable part.

The idea is that data, and the CRC data, is stored along the spiral, and that wiping in a circular motion will damage more data in a given sector.

However, when you're wiping with your fucking finger or even some sort of small foam/cloth tool, you're rubbing the shit out of the damaged area, and everything around it.

This was true with CDs, even truer with DVDs, and even truer with BluRay/HD DVD.

The basic premise behind this bullshit is that wiping your disc will damage it.

Wipe in whatever fucking direction helps remove smudges and smooth out divots and scratches. Remember to view your work STRAIGHT on like the laser does.

Re:Toothpaste (3, Informative)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481029)

I'm surprised no-one has caught the humor that was hopefully intended in this post. If the intent wasn't humor, then it may have been manslaughter...

30,000 RPM is more than high enough to cause the disc to fly apart - let alone the shattering splinters that would result (and could cause lacerations, embedded chunks of plastic) if you pressed against the disc at anywhere close to that speed.

Re:Toothpaste (3, Funny)

AioKits (1235070) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480605)

Toothpaste eh? Working porn DVD and clean teeth, all in one swoop!

Re:Toothpaste (3, Funny)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480687)

Toothpaste eh? Working porn DVD and clean teeth, all in one swoop!

Oh man...

Please no "pearly white" comments to this.

Re:Not Toothpaste (5, Funny)

weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480873)

thats not toothpaste...

Re:Toothpaste (4, Interesting)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480619)

The way this works, by the way, is that white toothpaste contains fuller's earth [] , which is a very mild abrasive. This polishes the disk back to readability.

Use this as your last resort, only when EAC and cdparanoia have both failed.

Note also: if you hold the disk up to the light and see lots of pinholes ... the aluminium layer's fucked and you haven't a hope. I dunno if you can repaint an aluminium layer ...

Why not GEL? (1)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480673)

I thought all toothpaste has some very mild abrasive in it.

Re:Why not GEL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24480725)

Because gels aren't pastes....

Slide case cover to left (4, Funny)

pagewalker (1286802) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480681)

I wonder if that works on 3.5" floppies...

Of course, 3.5" floppies are in cases, so I'll have to just squeeze the toothpaste into the case, and then use the disk drive to spread it out over the surface of the disk.

It might be worth it just for the tech support call.

Re:Slide case cover to left (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481065)

I can't tell if you're joking or not, but this technique is for optical discs. 3.5" floppies are magnetic.

Re:Toothpaste (1)

thittesd0375 (1111917) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481217)

Crest extra whitening saved my Band of Brothers DVDs from the trash heap. Coat with tooth paste, wipe outward with a soft cloth (no paper towels), rinse clean, and dry.

Frist post? (1)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480531)

If your discs are really scratched up try encoding them on the computer. I use CDex to encode to lossless and CDBurnerXP to burn the backups. For some reason my computer can record the discs to flac that my cd player cannot play. (I even encoded a disc with a full crack right through the middle of the disc with no skips at all) The skip doctor that my gf has works just fine. But if the scratch is really deep it might not work too great. I'd say try the skip doctor for the minor stuff and make backup copies of what ever you can.

Re:Frist post? (0)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480621)

Your PC drive probably has better optics, and more firmware/hardware for processing the reed-solomon coding etc.

Your CD player is meant for analog data, where a bit doesn't really make much difference, where on a data CD a single bit gone can ruin it. So, you could see how resources were allocated for accurate data reading on a data drive vs an audio drive.

Blow Torch, Seriously (5, Interesting)

michaelepley (239861) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480541)

Make a few quick, gentle passes over the recorded side(s) with a common butane blow torch, of the plumbing variety. The heat slightly melts the polycarbonate plastic, causing most scratches to get filled in, and other sharp edges to be smoothed & making reading easier. Tips: 1) don't overdo it, or the plastic might warp, 2) doesn't work well with recorded media (CD-Rs), 3) first practice a couple of times with media you don't mind losing.

Re:Blow Torch, Seriously (4, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480643)

That's gotta be some sort of Extreme Sports of disk recovery ...

Easy (4, Informative)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480561)

Toothpaste, [] or Brasso. [] I hear Brasso works the best.

Re:Easy (1)

BillAtHRST (848238) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480703)

That can work if the scratch is on the bottom of the disk, but not if the scratch is on the top.
If the reflective layer is scratched through (i.e., you can see through the disk when you hold it up to light), then no amount of polishing will help.
It may be possible to replace the top reflective layer, but I'm not aware of any tools to do that...

Re:Easy (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24480801)

I haven't tried the toothpaste, but I'll vouch for Brasso. I typically try to clean discs well before moving on to any other method, and then spray them with Pledge to see if that helps smooth out the smaller scratches/scuffs. If these two fail, I use put a small amount of Brasso on a cotton cloth (an old t-shirt) and buff out in a radial pattern or along deeper scratches. This has gotten some older discs to work, especially some PS2 discs I bought used.

Re:Easy (1)

inviolet (797804) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480993)

Toothpaste, or Brasso. I hear Brasso works the best.

Abrasives, bah. Just wave a propane flame gently and quickly over it. The heat will slightly melt the plastic and smooth out the scratches.

Re:Easy (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481077)

Just wave a propane flame gently and quickly over it. The heat will slightly melt the plastic and smooth out the scratches.

Does that work? I've seen it done with cut pieces of polycarbonate and acrylic to give the edges a nice finish, but I never thought about it to fix CDs.

I've got a $5 solution.. (5, Informative)

Awptimus Prime (695459) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480567)

Get a $5 tub of Mother's Metal Polish. It'll take out scratches in any plastic as long as you use a cotton or microfiber cloth.

It's also handy if you get a gimp DVD from NetFlix/Blockbuster and don't feel like waiting for a replacement.

Typically, you can buff down the worst of gashes in less than a minute. If you can't, then the $250 device probably wouldn't have worked either.

Since there's no way you'll use the whole tub on CDs or DVDs, you can use the rest to pretty up your silverware, brass stuff, and rub rust off things you don't feel safe using steel wool on.

Re:I've got a $5 solution.. (5, Informative)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481011)

Since there's no way you'll use the whole tub on CDs or DVDs, you can use the rest to pretty up your silverware, brass stuff, and rub rust off things you don't feel safe using steel wool on.

This is probably off topic but I felt compelled to reply, never buff your silver. There's a super easy trick that companies don't want you to know. (IAAC) Get a container big enough for your silverware. Put aluminum foil in it, put the silver on top of it, fill with boiling water, sprinkle baking soda on top. The tarnished parts of the silver will disappear. It's an oxidation reduction reaction. Every atom of the silver will remain and it only removes the tarnish. No worry about scratches or wearing down the metal. I shine all my/my gf's/my family's silver jewelry and utensils this way. It only takes a few seconds.

Just a note (5, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480577)

If anyone recommends a home remedy (like toothpaste or baking soda paste), I would try it first on one of your not-so-irreplaceable discs.

Otherwise, you may be *very* unhappy with the results (like if you use a "whitening" toothpaste, or if your tecnhique sucks).

Reminds of an A-Team episode where someone (Murdoch?) tells Mr. T to clean his gold jewelry by putting it in the microwave. Mr. T was not amused with the results, to say the least.

Re:Just a note (3, Informative)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480879)

Ah, the lessons learned from Mr. T...

Re:Just a note (1)

JayTech (935793) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481201)

The character who said that was Frankie. That episode was hilarious!

Scratch removal (1)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480583)

Cleaning well can make a huge difference, and using alternative CD players might help as well (some seem to read better than others). I had a friend use a mild polish and lots of rubbing to fix his scratching problem.

I always wanted to try a Dremel with a buffing attachment on some of the very scratched DVDs I get from the library, though I haven't been brave enough. If you've got an old Bon Jovi CD laying around (or something similarly useless), you could scratch it up and then see if you could repair it using various methods.

gah. (1)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480589)

This is an ongoing problem... []

And its much, much worse for CDRs.

I rip all my CDs and have several digital copies, no I do not P2P or share I simply try to appreciate my music for longer.

cleaning and buffing (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480623)

I've found most CDs, even fairly severely scratched ones, can be read if you clean them with tap water, wiping them with your finger (perhaps the oil helps fill the scratches and reduce the diffraction), buffing them with a soft wet paper towel, and then with a dry paper towel. Remember to always wipe and buff the CD radially outward from the center, and never sideways.

The layer of plastic above the metal or dye film that contains the actual data is thick enough that you can buff a significant amount of plastic off without damaging the data. The devices you've heard of do just that. Do note that removing the plastic may make the CD more sensitive to further damage, and copying them to another disc would be wise.

Re:cleaning and buffing (2, Informative)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480671)

Your skin oils and the buffing from the paper help remove or pad the sharp edges on the scratch, reducing glare from the laser. This helps the drive read the data immediately next to the damage and get more bits to process with reed-solomon, data which is usually obscured by the reflections off the damage.

I've used a fine-point sharpie to black-out a scratch, and the disc read perfectly after that.

Disc Doctor isn't all bad (1)

doctor_nation (924358) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480629)

I've had a Disc Doctor for a long time, and it works OK. It can't handle deep scratches, but neither can anything else. The same goes for scratches on the top side. I imagine if people had problems with the Disc Dr. it's because they are incapable of following directions correctly.

I'd say try it if the toothpaste doesn't work. For light scratches from normal use, it would probably work fine.

Re:Disc Doctor isn't all bad (2, Informative)

drxenos (573895) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480845)

I second that. I've rescued a lot CDs with Disc Doctor. The only ones I couldn't save had pinholes in them. In that case, nothing will save them. Any scratched disc can be saved. Is when the printed side is damaged that the disc is unrepairable.

Re:Disc Doctor isn't all bad (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481189)

I've found i get better results with my own formula than with their spray (which is really just distilled water with a drop of alcohol). i use just distilled water, along with a little dish detergent, same formula a lot of people use for wet-sanding paint.

Toothpaste (1)

_bug_ (112702) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480635)

Toothpaste and a cloth used to clean eyeglasses or camera lenses works great for surface scratches. The toothpaste acts as a polish on the plastic and will remove most of the surface scratches.

Put a blob of toothpaste on the CD (data side, obviously) then polish the CD with the toothpaste and cloth. Once you're done, wash it off with water and either use a dry cloth to dry the CD. I've done this myself on several CDs and they've gone from unusable to playing great.

Nowadays I rip the CD as soon as I buy it, then store the CD away so I don't have to deal with scratched CDs.

A lesson for the rest of us (2, Interesting)

mstamat (519697) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480645)

I don't want to be mean, but why would anyone use original (and sometimes irreplaceable) CDs in his car? Always use copies of the originals for in-car listening.

Re:A lesson for the rest of us (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480853)

I don't want to be mean, but why would anyone use original (and sometimes irreplaceable) CDs in his car?

Because in the early days CD burners were very expensive, very slow, required very expensive (SCSI) non-standard interfaces, their media was very expensive, and required very fast computers for the day to not have dropouts. In short, in the early days most of us didn't have any ability to duplicate CD's on our own for automobile/portable use. Oh, and it was also illegal, or so we were told.

Re:A lesson for the rest of us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24481085)

...required very expensive (SCSI) non-standard interfaces...

SCSI is the very definition of a standard interface. Sure, you can complain that it's expensive, but non-standard it is not.

Skip Doctor works well for me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24480653)

I've had a skip doctor for years now and always had great results. It is worth noting that your disc comes out of the machine looking like absolute crap but if you follow the directions it will play flawlessly.

Define Irreplacable (2, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480679)

Can you elucidate further on the irreplaceable aspects of many of your discs? CD's last a long time, many were made, many remain available in catalogs, and then there's Amazon, iTunes, eBay, and your local secondhand music shop.

In fact, if the record companies are smart (admittedly the RIAA backed lawsuits strongly cast this into question) everything ever (re)mastered in digital should be available from online music stores.

If you're just trying to see how cheaply you can accomplish this that's fine, however, then it's simply a matter of cost, not availability.

Re:Define Irreplacable (4, Informative)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480819)

Local artists that only ran a few thousand copies, and are no longer producing music?

That's how it worked before the internet, CD's or tapes was all they had for distribution and once those were gone, the band may as well never have existed.

I know I've got a dozen or so discs from the early 90's that fit that description, and I treat them better than I do myself. ;)

Re:Define Irreplacable (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480867)

There's a lotta good stuff that isn't on the six^Wfive^Wfour majors and really is just about unavailable on earth. And even on the four majors, they delete CDs at a fantastic rate and are surprisingly bad at releasing the obscurities for download. I need to back up my stuff again.

Re:Define Irreplacable (1)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481137)

And what about that CD of music you recorded of your band in the basement?

Re:Define Irreplacable (3, Interesting)

penginkun (585807) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481175)

I've got an original UK Harvest release of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. Sure, Dark Side has been released about half a billion times, but the sound quality on this is among the best. I'd as soon as not lose it, because they're very, very difficult to find.

Also nearly irreplaceable is my original release of David Sylvian and Robert Fripp's "Damage". It, too, was re-released, but with a different mix which is nowhere near as good as the original.

So there are SOME irreplaceable discs out there. Not everything is mass-produced, unfortunately.

Ask Nicely (3, Interesting)

b0bby (201198) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480697)

How about asking your local Hollywood or Blockbuster folks if you could run your few discs through their fancy machine?

Re:Ask Nicely (1)

justkarl (775856) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481149)

I'd assume that most of the time asking nicely would not be sufficient. However, I know that Game Crazy(usually next to hollywood) used to sell "punch cards" good for 5 resurfacings, and it didn't cost much. Hollywood might do something similar.

One of those industrial de-scratchers sits ... (1)

oDDmON oUT (231200) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480709)

at the entrance of the Movie Trading Company® where I live.

I had a bad disc from a library loan once, took it there, chatted up one of the staff and they buffed it up to a playable state for free.

I imagine that a small gratuity on your part would go a long way to having a minimal stack done the same way.

Caveat: Do as other posters suggest, first attempt a rip using CDParanoia & EAC, just in case the machine munches the irreplaceable originals (it's known to happen).

Good luck with your project.

Family Video (4, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480713)

My local family video will resurface the disks with their professional grade JFJ for a few dollars. If you only have a dozen or so that need to be done that might be the cheapest, safest, and easiest way to get your disks back.

Re:Family Video (1)

jchawk (127686) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481139)

That's an excellent suggestion. Have you tried stopping in and having a conversation with the store manager for your local video store?

Most mom and pop stores won't turn down the extra money. If all you have are corporate type stores the store manager might just do it for you as a goodwill towards the community. He does nice for you, you speak highly of the chain and help increase your business.

Record Stores (4, Informative)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480735)

Find a store that sells used albums and CDs they will most likely have this service. This is what I do.

Really find metal polish (1)

azav (469988) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480753)

I've used polish for mag rims with great success. Some people mention toothpaste but I find that very fine grit polish works wonders. I think I used a German polish called Weenol and a polishing cloth. My rules: don't press hard. Just rub and rub and rub and rub. Think of a polish that is used to polish the clearcoat of the your paint on your car. It's 2500 grit. Basically, you need something with a very fine grit a flat surface, some TEST CDs a good polishing cloth and time.

Good luck!

Re:Really find metal polish (1)

azav (469988) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480803)

OH! This might be too large a grit but what about baking soda tooth paste? Also, try some of the Soft Scrub bathroom polish on TEST CDs.


headlight repair kit (1)

DriveDog (822962) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480757)

Can't recommend it because I haven't yet done it, but I bought a (I think it was $15 or so) kit to polish out the scratches and restore the look of my old car's headlights. Since the headlight material is similar to that of CDs, I intend to try it on a couple of scratched, skipping discs. Kit came from Autozone, but I suspect most similar stores have similar products.

Sweat (1)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480775)

Seriously. Get some of the oil and grim off the your face. Most common place is the sides of your nose. Just rub your fingers into it really hard, and then wipe onto the scratches. Might want to a light wipe with a clean cloth right after. It works on fairly minor scratches. Other than that, you can try Brasso. If your face is too clean, go find some highschoolers.

well, combinations work (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480795)

Use a disc doctor, or the toothpaste method, to get rid of as much of the hairline scratches as you can.

Next, grab yourself a good fine-pointed marker. The finest you can find.

Black out the large scratches with this. Be very careful to only cover the damage itself - look straight at the disc from the laser's perspective and if you can see any light reflection from the damage, black out the reflective spot. This is difficult, and requires a good marker and steady hand, and sharp eyes.

The idea is this:

The drive passes over the scratch - not only is the scratch unreadable, but any glare/reflections off of the damage interfere with reading the data that is immediately adjacent to the scratch. That neighbor data is used to reconstruct lost bits using reed-solomon parity coding. The more bits in the packet the drive can read, the more likely it can recover the damaged area.

After doing this, I suggest ripping the disc to a computer. The drives meant for reading/writing data have much more support hardware/logic for dealing with lost bits, where an audio drive is more geared for making such errors unnoticeable.

easiest solution... (2, Funny)

WwWonka (545303) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480799) recover tracks from compact disc: 1. insert said CD into laptop/desktop 2. see if spins/reads correctly 3. open browser 4. in the URL bar type "" 5. this will give you another search option 6. enter cd title and/or artist 7. ensure you have one of those illegal bittorrent clients 8. recover tracks/whole CD/maybe even a few extra tracks not on CD *if using Comcast this may take a bit longer than normal 9. RECOVERED! 10. eject and toss compact disc, flip off RIAA

Two things: (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480817)

There's a free utilty called EAC, Exact Audio Copy. Its two disadvanteges are it's windows only, and isn't the easiest to use. Google can find it for you. You should be able to make a pristine, new copy of your CD.

Also, scratched CDs can often be repaired with toothpaste. Only use on the bottom (laser side); do NOT use toothpaste on the top (label side) or you will ruin your CD. Do NOT wipe in a circular motion, wipe in the direction of the radius (center to outside edge). Just use your finger with a little toothpaste on it.

Alas, neither of these methods is foolproof; I have one CD that the outer tracks are rioned on.

The first thing I do with a new CD these days is to make a copy, put the original in its case and leave it there. The copy is only a copy and if it gets scratched, no matter, I still have the original.

Re:Two things: (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480851)

Non-windows users have cdparanoia at hand, I think it is a suitable replacement for EAC.

Re:Two things: (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481179)

Wow, thanks! I've been looking for a native Linux replacment for EAC for years.

Re:Two things: (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480971)

EAC works very well under Wine. I use it myself, alternating between EAC and Paranoia depending which does better with a particular bad disk.

Re:Two things: (2, Informative)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481171)

If you do use EAC, use the IMG mode. That way you'll get a full rip of the CD exactly as it is, complete with correct pre-gaps and everything.

Find a friend who works at Blockbuster, duh (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480833)

Just make a friend at Blockbuster, or slide them a few bucks, to let you borrow their $250+ cleaners for an hour. The solution to your problem was in your description of the problem. :)

Ask the record company/RIAA to replace it (5, Funny)

krbvroc1 (725200) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480843)

Since you only license the material and do not own it, they should be able to replace the media for a nominal fee.

Re:Ask the record company/RIAA to replace it (2, Interesting)

sconeu (64226) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481055)

Actually, this would probably make an interesting court case.

Aircraft Plexi Repair to the rescue! (3, Informative)

n76lima (455808) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480849)

Use Micro-Mesh to remove scratches from the music side of the disc. It will remove scratches that you can catch a fingernail in, as well as the minor ones. Yes it is "sandpaper", but it is a system of varying grits that are used to restore the optics of aircraft windows, etc. I have extensive experience with it, and it works great when recovering a damaged CD. []

Related question ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24480875)

How can I rip a region locked DVD (windows environment) so that I can reburn it? Bought a DVD overseas and the thing won't work in my (North American) DVD player.

Ask for a professional (2, Interesting)

subreality (157447) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480893)

My in-laws run a CD repair business. (Link excluded to prevent accusations of spam.) Mostly they buy beat up junk in bulk lots, fix them up and resell them at a profit, but they can easily handle salvaging damaged collections too.

The machine they use is a professional-grade one that you can drop the most horribly mangled CDs into, and a few minutes later they come out looking *new*. Search around the net a bit, and you'll find plenty of mom-and-pop operations that will be able to do this for you for a reasonable fee.

For a more DIY approach, if you're happy being able to get the CD readable once so you can rip-and-reburn it: Try nose grease. In private to avoid funny looks, hold the CD up to the front of your nose, and give it a good wipe. Spread the grease mark out with your fingers, and notice how all the scratches are now much less visible. The nose grease fills in small scratches, and it has an index of refraction close enough to the polycarbonate to make it optically sound. I've had very good luck doing this after the whitening toothpaste trick others have mentioned. The whitening toothpaste makes a good first pass, but leaves a little haze... The nose grease fills in the haze, and makes the CD salvagable.

For scratches of the lower side of the disc (1)

zp (68133) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480903)

Simichrome [] is the best buffing paste.

Apply gently a small amount on the scratch and buff with small and firm movements with a clean flannel cloth.

£1 shop. (1)

Adoxographer (1120207) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480923)

This may not be available in your location/culture but just to add weight to the similar suggestions.

I went to the £1 shop and bought CD repair kit with two bottles and some cloths and sponges in it.

One bottle was a fine abrasive slurry which smelled exactly like brass polish, the other was to clean the slurry off.

Rubbed it for a while and it was fine. One disc was so bad I had to use a cotton buffing wheel (carefully) in a (variable speed) drill.

Has worked on gamecube games and video dvds, but didn't work on my friend's sims CDROM, though I think that was because the metallic recording substrate was damaged too (spots of light visible through it).

Worth a try. Brasso or something.

Skip Dr Works (3, Informative)

DnemoniX (31461) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480927)

I have a 4 year old that listens to CDs everynight at bed time. As you can image a small child can be a little bit tough on the old SpongeBob CD. Several of her CDs became unplayable. I purchased a Skip Dr at the local Best Buy for under $20. All I can say is it worked perfectly. All of the cheap solutions presented here, toothpaste, Brasso, etc all do the same thing. They are essentially rubbing compound. The difference with using the Skip Dr is that your strokes are perfectly uniform all the way around the surface of the disk and it takes less than 60 seconds to repair a disk. If you have severe scratches or gouges none of the inexpensive solutions are going to work well. One other note; when you read a forum and somebody says that the Skip Dr left scratches all over the CD, that person didn't bother to read the instructions. As with any of the buffing methods small radial scratching may occur and is normal, your player will ignore it.

Dremel + Soft Cloth Wheel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24480947)

Sure, it's the same sort of abrasion that most everyone else is suggesting, but it has an additional benefit: Depending on your personal hygiene you may not have toothpaste at hand (or at least not the right type) and you're unlikely to have Brasso. But, being a geek, you may well have a Dremel. And you just might have a soft cloth wheel for it - if not, they're like two dollars at the local hardware store. If you do, fire it up at about half-power and go gently and consistently from the center to the rim. It takes maybe a minute. The disk will look like hell, and you'll need to wash it with soap and water after, but it'll play.

Note: Do NOT use a felt wheel. That's not in big-assed letters for a reason, it'll chew through the disk faster than you can say "irreplaceable."

If you have access to some power equipment... (1)

wiryd (841552) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480949)

A local CD Warehouse store (sells used CDs) that my neighbor owns uses a large cloth wheel mounted on a disc-grinder type aparatus and pink baby lotion. CDs come off looking like new and working like new every time with minimal risk of damage during the cleaning process.

Displex (1)

od05 (915556) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480951)

I use Displex [] .
Even tho its meant for cell phone screens, it works well on CDs.

Has anyone else suffered CD degradation? (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480965)

I've got a large music CD collection (1000+) which I keep stored in their cases most of the time - since I've ripped all of them, unless I'm spending some time listening on the house hifi, then I generally play the rips rather than the originals. I do have CDs going back to the mid-80s, I've not yet come across one that has degraded to the point of failure but there are a few of my CDs that have silver-coloured backs (printed with black writing) that are starting to go a pale coppery colour around the circumference. They seem to play just as well though. A friend of mine (also a CD and hifi buff) did have a problem with one CD where it was starting to develop pinprick faults across the surface of the coating. Has anyone else ever witnessed a CD failing through "natural" degradation? Now that some of them can be 20+ years old, it's interesting to see how well they stand the ravages of time, even if pretty much unplayed and left in their cases.

Car Wax (1)

t00le (136364) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480975)

I had the same problem with some really old cd's. I asked a friend who mentioned that he used any car wax that has Carnauba Wax in it. You may have to apply four or five coats to smooth things out a bit, but it will be "fixed' enough for a cd rip utility.

Swamp's solution. (1)

IV-Swamp (744272) | more than 6 years ago | (#24480983)

One of my Reason 3 cds was scratched pretty bad and I was unable to read the data from it. (Sorry about the preposition grammar mistake.) On a recommendation from a friend I used some generic furniture polish (Food Lion brand) and rubbed a small amount with a micro-fiber cloth from the center out over the scratches and it has worked great for over a year now. It also has a faint lemony scent now.

Pledge Furniture Polish (1)

anthropromorph (968354) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481053)

Pledge is what our computer forensics lab uses on damaged disks they want to read. Either way I would try non abrasive tips before abrasive ones (i.e. Toothpast)

scratched CDs & DVDs? Pledge funiture polish (1)

moravetz (1339121) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481075)

Polish the disc with Pledge spray funrniture polish. It is a fine wax that fills in the scratches and yet is transparent enough to allow a read. It will last long enough to get a read for copy. I has never fails me.

Pencil eraser (1)

trailerparkcassanova (469342) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481091)

It looks bad when you're done but it works. Auto rubbing compound works, too.

Software solution: Exact Audio Copy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24481141)

It's probably not the only tool out there, and it is Windows-only, but I've retrieved remarkably hacked-up CDs using Exact Audio Copy [] . I've retrieved perfect tracks from disks that sounded awful and looked like they had been sandpapered. It sometimes took hours to do on really bad disks, but it worked.

It's free for non-commercial use.

Top scratches can't be fixed (1)

Rhett (141440) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481151)

You don't need a fancy machine. The bottom line is that if the scratch is on the bottom, and it doesn't go too deep, you can polish away some plastic to make the cd readable again.

If the scratch is on the top, and deep enough, there is no way to repair the cd. You can tell if it is a top scratch by holding up the cd to a light and looking through with with top side facing you. If you can see light coming through scratches, you have top scratches.

simple (1)

nova.alpha (1287112) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481163)

dd if=/dev/cdrom of=file.iso bs=2048

Well, back in the day... (1)

Cragen (697038) | more than 6 years ago | (#24481199)

I would just like to note that, back around 1982, (before they actually become ubiquitous) CD's were touted as "longer lasting than LP records" since the read "head" never touched the surface. Oh, well.
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